After a two-and-a-half-year long investigation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General issued a report on Tuesday concluding that the Secret Service had retaliated against whistle blower, Robert MacQueen.
The shocking findings of the investigation found that the Secret Service had fabricated charges against MacQueen – a 24-year veteran of the Secret Service. Their retaliation took various forms, including revoking MacQueen’s security clearances, keeping him on unpaid leave during the whistleblower investigation, and removing him from prestigious assignments he had previously held.
“In sum, the weaknesses in the Secret Service’s case for the security clearance actions, coupled with motive to retaliate, as well as comparisons with similarly situated employees that showed complainant was treated differently, demonstrate that the agency failed in its burden of showing that it would have taken these actions absent complainant’s protected [whistleblower] disclosures,” the Inspector General announced in his report.
MacQueen had in the past said that he and his family were crushed financially as he spent years on unpaid leave fighting the false, retaliatory charges that the Secret Service punished him with.
Sean Bigley, MacQueen’s attorney, on Thursday said that he expects that the Secret Service will “promptly” follow the Inspector General’s recommendations and ensure that MacQueen’s security clearance is reinstated, and that he receives back pay for his time on the unpaid leave.
He said, “The conduct of the Secret Service officials in this matter was appalling and only further perpetuates the agency’s reputation as an ‘old boys’ club.’ Nonetheless, the system worked here and justice prevailed.”
“The conduct of the Secret Service officials in this matter was appalling and only further perpetuates the agency’s reputation as an ‘old boys’ club,’” he told the Free Beacon. “Nonetheless, the system worked here and justice prevailed.”
“In line with the Inspector General’s recommendations, we are requesting back pay, immediate reinstatement, and compensatory damages,” he said.
The report by the Inspector General said that the MacQueen’s case is the first time that it had successfully substantiated an ‘instance of retaliation’ related to an agency wrongfully overturning and suspending the employee’s security clearance, under a relatively recent (5 years ago) Presidential policy directive aimed at shielding whistleblowers with the access to classified information.
In the past, whistleblowers and other such employees who have accused the government officials of the wrongdoing often complained that their security clearances were revoked in retaliation and that they had no way to fight back and try to keep their clearances.