Congress awaits TSA explanation for whistleblower’s treatment



Robert MacLean testifies to Congress. Photo by Linda Lewis

Robert MacLean testifies to Congress. Photo by Linda Lewis

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wants an explanation from the Transportation Security Agency for its treatment of Robert MacLean, whose disclosure foiled TSA plans to pull air marshals off long distance commercial flights after the 9/11 attacks.

A special kind of courage: publishing the Pentagon Papers



Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change. – Robert Kennedy

Julian Assange “arbitrarily detained” by UK and Sweden a UN panel concludes



The United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) today released an opinion that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange “was arbitrarily detained by the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom” and is therefore”entitled to his freedom of movement and to compensation.” Assange, who aided NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in finding asylum, told reporters by video link,”We have today a really significant victory that has brought a smile to my face.”

New book revisits JFK assassination


David B. Nolan, Jr., a former Reagan White House attorney who submitted an amicus for the whistleblower in DHS v. MacLean, has written a new and controversial book, The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald: LBJ’s Patsy.  Using public domain information, Nolan builds a case that Oswald “was deliberately deprived [of] a trial to prove his innocence and to show that LBJ masterminded the JFK murder.” The author concludes that Charles Harrelson, an organized crime figure, shot JFK and died in prison after his conviction of the murder of a federal judge, John H. Wood, Jr.

Nolan also co-wrote Quest for Freedom.  Both books are available on

Thirty years after NASA disaster, whistleblower’s identity revealed


Thirty years ago today, the space shuttle Challenger exploded less than 2 minutes after lift-off, killing all seven astronauts on board. A fe months later, two engineers talked about the disaster to National Public Radio on condition of anonymity, They revealed that they and three other engineers employed by NASA contractor Morton-Thiokol had warned that critical seals would fail in the below-freezing temperatures. NASA managers rejected their pleas for a launch delay.

The whistleblowing engineers were not initially identified. The identity of Roger Boisjoly was acknowledged after his death in 2012. Today, NPR revealed the identity of the second whistleblower, Bob Ebeling, with his permission.

A Christmas movie for whistleblowers


Vintage Christmas Postcard - Santa

For the whistleblower in search of Christmas entertainment, look no further than the 1947 film classic, “Miracle on 34th Street.” The plot is a classic whistleblowing situation:  A principled employee observes unethical and possibly illegal conduct and is subjected to retaliation after he attempts  to disclose the wrongdoing. The wrongdoer, a company psychologist, succeeds in having Kris (played by Edmund Gwen) sent to a psychiatric institution. The principled employee, in this case, is Kris Kringle, AKA Santa Claus, a character beloved around the world. You’re in good company, whistleblowers!

Gaps confirmed in protections for national security whistleblowers



Washington, D.C. — According to a new report, workers in national security positions remain vulnerable to reprisal under current federal laws. The PEN America report, Secret Sources: Whistleblowers, National Security, and Free Expression, refutes allegations by current and former government officials that Edward Snowden had a protected alternative for making his disclosures of government surveillance programs.

NYPD whistleblower settles claim against hospital


A New York City police officer has settled his complaint against a hospital that held him against his will in a psychiatric ward. The officer, Adrian Schoolcraft, claimed bosses ordered him arrested on and hospitalized in retaliation for his whistleblowing disclosure of arrest quotas and manipulation of crime statistics.

Schoolcraft previously settled claims against the New York Police Department for $600.000 plus back pay and benefits from 2009 until the end of this year. Quoting “a source,” the New York Daily News reported that Schoolcraft’s total settlement with the city exceeds $1 million dollars and that “it’s highly likely he will retire from the force.

North Carolinians welcome truth-tellers



North Carolinians gave truth-tellers a good reception last week in Asheville, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Chapel Hill, Greensboro and Durham. John Kiriakou, the former CIA operative who exposed torture of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo prison, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at North Carolina State University and also made appearances at N.C. Central University, Guilford College, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Quaker House.  (You can hear his interview at WUNC.)