U.S. top court backs former air marshal in whistleblower case

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 21, 2015 10:22 AM

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a former air marshal can seek whistleblower protections for disclosing sensitive information to the news media about the absence of security officers on certain flights.

On a 7-2 vote, the court rejected the arguments made by President Barack Obama's administration, which was seeking to reverse an appeals court ruling favoring whistleblower Robert MacLean, who was fired for the 2003 leak.

The litigation is not over as the courts have not yet definitively resolved whether MacLean’s actions merit protection under the whistleblower law. He will need to show he had a reasonable belief the information he disclosed was a threat to public health or safety.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)