- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2004

The head of security at Washington Dulles International Airport was placed on administrative leave because of his arrest on drunken driving charges as the airport was on a heightened state of alert for terrorist activity early New Year’s Day, the Transportation Security Administration said yesterday.

Charles Brady, acting federal security director at Dulles, was pulled over Thursday morning, hours after a British Airways jetliner was detained at the airport because of intelligence information.

Spokeswoman Tara Hamilton said a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police officer took Mr. Brady into custody after he saw him driving erratically.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) named Adm. James Schear acting federal security director at Dulles during an investigation of Mr. Brady’s arrest, agency spokesman Darrin Kayser said.

Mr. Brady was arrested when the nation was at a heightened alert level because of terrorism concerns that disrupted more than a half-dozen New Year’s holiday flights, including three British Airways flights between Dulles and London.

Intelligence indicated al Qaeda operatives had been showing interest in using commercial planes to stage an attack and pointed to strikes on cities that included Washington. The city was protected by surface-to-air missile systems during the holidays.

TSA spokeswoman Jennifer Marty said Mr. Brady and other federal security directors at the nation’s airports were notified on New Year’s Eve that they should plan to stay at work until 2 a.m. because the agency was conducting emergency drills. Mr. Brady was pulled over at 1 a.m. and taken to the Fairfax County Detention Center, where he spent the night before being released Thursday afternoon.

The federal security director position is relatively new. Not long after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the TSA quickly hired 158 federal security directors to oversee security at 429 commercial airports.

Rafi Ron, a Washington-based security consultant and former security director for the Israeli Airport Authority, said he considered Mr. Brady’s arrest a personal tragedy rather than a widespread systemic problem.

“I think it’s a single incident,” Mr. Ron said, noting that most federal security directors are former Army generals or Coast Guard and Navy admirals.

“I guess he was under a lot of pressure,” Mr. Ron said. “Whatever the stress is, when you’ve been chosen for that job, you should be able to handle that type of pressure.”

Efforts to reach Mr. Brady were unsuccessful.

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