Robert Mac Lean - Senator Hillary Clinton and Ten Other Bipartisan Members of Congress Supported MacLean's Actions

Senator Hillary Clinton and Ten Other Bipartisan Members of Congress Supported MacLean's Actions

U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton from New York, now Secretary of State, wrote a letter to DHS Secretary Tom Ridge about MacLean's disclosure:

I also want to reiterate my extreme concern with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) proposal, in the face of these serious threats, to cut the number of air marshals by canceling critical flight missions because those missions would have required air marshals to spend the night at a hotel.

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer from California wrote this provision into ATSA. Senator Boxer also called for better protection of the identities of Federal Air Marshals and greater oversight of the Federal Air Marshal Service.

FAM Robert MacLean was rebuffed by his TSA managers and a Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS/OIG) field agent, so he warned the public by going to NBC News. MacLean was quoted, anonymously, along with other unnamed sources, in a story written by Brock N. Meeks, Chief Washington correspondent for MSNBC.com. That article broke the story and set off a chain reaction among national media outlets resulting in dozens of articles and televised broadcasts. The message MacLean disclosed was not marked as Sensitive Security Information (SSI), the often abused unclassified information control mark used to protect information within the DHS's Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Given that text message was sent nationally to all FAMS employees' unencrypted and password-protected cellular phones and did not contain SSI marking, MacLean was unaware of any obligation to protect the information. For employees dealing with traditional Classified Information, a disclosure of CLASSIFIED information is a violation of law enacted by Congress, whereas a violation of SSI is a violation of a TSA regulation.

FAM Robert MacLean's disclosure helped draw public scrutiny and bipartisan congressional outrage to TSA's plan which rapidly led to its reversal. TSA first denied that air marshals would have been shifted, but the morning after MacLean's disclosure, U.S. Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (New York), Barbara Boxer (California), and Charles Schumer (New York) held video press conferences condemning the plan forcing the TSA to reverse its plan before going into effect.

U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey was "furious" and issued this July 30, 2003 press release:

You have to ask yourself: What are they thinking? First, the Administration issues an alarming statement that puts fear into the public, then they want to scale back security on airplanes. Does the left arm know what the right arm is doing over at the Department of Homeland Security?

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York stated the following:

Given the potential fallout of another attack that intelligence reports suggest is on the way, it is incredible that the TSA would consider reducing the air marshal presence on these flights simply to save the cost of an overnight hotel room

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York also called on DHS Secretary Ridge to:

immediately reverse reported plans to cut air marshal service on coast-to-cost and international flights … in light of intelligence indicating that al-Qaida and other terrorist groups may have stepped up plans

Read more about this topic:  Robert Mac Lean

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