The Transportation Security Administration learns about a credible hijacking plot. It then pulls air marshals off of certain long-distance flights because of a budget shortfall. This was, in a word, stupid.
Robert MacLean was one of those air marshals. After going to his supervisors and other proper channels, and after he was rebuked with warnings about his career, he anonymously tipped off the press. He was later fired.
In January, the Department of Homeland Security submitted its petition for certiorari, arguing that applicable security regulations prohibited MacLean's disclosures and that the Federal Circuit's opinion "effectively permits individual federal employees to override the TSA's judgments about the dangers of public disclosure."
What was MacLean's response? Let's take a look at his Brief in Opposition: