A five-year-old whistle blowing scandal at the Secret Service has finally been resolved, after countless hours in the courtroom. In a massive blow to the credibility of the Obama-era secret service, the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security announced findings that the Secret Service unlawfully retaliated against the whistleblower.
A 24-year Secret Service veteran, special agent, Robert MacQueen, was forced into spending a period of more than 3 years on unpaid leaves while he fought made-up charges against him for misusing his government provided vehicle and claiming more overtime than he worked in reality, while his security clearance was also retracted.
Robert MacQueen’s lawyer – Sean Bigley, went on to say that his case is one of a kind and the initiative of a revolution. He says that, as this brings hope for intelligence and federal law enforcement officers, who had to go through similar pain and legal options after they complained against their manager’s wrongdoings, which eventually ruined their careers and had their security clearances revoked.
Bigley further confirmed the fact that the original dispute, which is being reported since summer this year, is now settled “on terms very favorable” to the victim, MacQueen had also kept a followup on a detailed IG report recommendations.
While refusing to provide all the details of the monetary settlement, Bigley went on to say that, it is “substantial and included retroactive promotion, back pay, attorney fees, compensatory damages, reinstatement of his security clearance and full retirement benefits.”
“Special Agent MacQueen’s case is a prime example of the work that remains to be done in strengthening whistle-blower protection statutes—especially as they pertain to security clearance matters. Whistle-blowing and leaking are two sides of the same coin,” Bigley had said. “If the government wants to stop illegal leaks, it needs to incentivize lawful whistle-blowing by taking steps to ensure the type of retaliation that occurred in Mr. MacQueen’s case doesn’t happen again.”
The DHS inspector general’s report also specified that this fight against MacQueen is one of the latest blows for the Secret Service, whose top hierarchy has continuously promised to bring about positive changes. The agency after every case of high-profile security lapse that brings shame to the whole department insulting personnel practices that continue to create top stories during many past years.
Bigley also showed his gratitude towards the DHS inspector general’s office for the “tireless dedication,” and gave all the top managers at the agency the credit they deserved for making visible efforts to “finally clean house” in the country’s very own security division in response to their IG report.
The Secret Service on the other hand never said that they didn’t make an offer for settlement. Though, in the beginning, a spokeswoman did not comment to that charge but then had pointed out that the Office of Personnel Management, and not the Secret Service, has any authority to “grant” disability retirement.
“Any and all allegations that the Secret Service engages in disability fraud is [sic] completely false,” the spokeswoman said.
“This whole episode demands further exploration and the resolution of Mr. MacQueen’s case should not mark an end, but rather the beginning of a concerted effort to gain much more information and exercise more oversight into the federal disability system,” she stated in a statement.