By Steven Ginsberg
The chief of the Transportation Security Administration at
Dulles International Airport was placed on administrative
leave yesterday after being charged with drunken driving while
he was on duty for a New Year's Eve Code Orange alert, officials
Acting federal security director Charles Brady was pulled
over about 1 a.m. by a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
police officer who saw him driving erratically on Route 28
near Dulles, airport spokeswoman Tara Hamilton said.
Brady, 49, was taken to the Fairfax County jail, where he
was booked at 3 a.m. He was released at 1 p.m. yesterday after
being charged with driving while intoxicated, said spokesman
Lt. Tyler Corey, who described Brady as "extremely cooperative"
during his stay.
On a night considered at particular risk of terrorism, with
extraordinary security actions in place across the country,
Brady was supposed to be at his airport post until 2 a.m.
TSA spokeswoman Jennifer Marty said that Brady should have
been participating in a security exercise to ensure the safety
of air travelers at that hour.
"Obviously it was New Year's, and obviously it was not
only a chance to practice but to be on site during the holiday
to make sure everything goes smoothly," Marty said. Asked
who at the airport had indeed made sure everything went smoothly
at that hour, Marty replied, "I couldn't tell you."
Reached at his home in Oak Hill last night, Brady maintained
that he was stopped at 2:30 a.m., 30 minutes after his shift
had ended. He said he had spent his final work hours monitoring
flights and declined to discuss his whereabouts after that.
"I'm just waiting for the results of [the TSA] investigation,"
Brady was arrested not long after the final passengers from
a British Airways plane detained for hours because of security
concerns were released from interviews at Dulles by TSA officials
and FBI agents.
Flight 223, en route from London Heathrow Airport with 247
passengers, had been escorted to Dulles by U.S. fighter jets.
It landed just after 7 p.m. Wednesday and was directed to
a remote area, several hundred feet from a terminal gate,
where baggage was searched and the plane inspected.
The nation was put under a Code Orange alert -- the second-highest
level -- on Dec. 21 because of heightened fears of terrorism
over the holiday season. That immediately triggered stepped-up
security procedures across the country to protect government
buildings, critical infrastructure such as nuclear plants
and railroads, harbors, shopping malls and other locations
where people congregate.
Security officials cited a particular risk from terrorists
commandeering a plane heading to the United States from a
foreign country and using it as a weapon as they did in Washington
and New York City in 2001. Six Air France flights heading
to Los Angeles were canceled before Christmas, and two London-to-Dulles
flights were canceled yesterday because of security concerns.
U.S. officials said yesterday that an Aeromexico flight from
Mexico City to Los Angeles also was canceled Wednesday evening
for the same reasons.
Marty said the agency had named Adm. James Shear as acting
federal security director at Dulles pending its internal investigation
into Brady's arrest.
Brady said he came to Dulles in April 2002 as deputy federal
security director. He became acting director in July when
Scott McHugh resigned shortly after raising concerns internally
about being shorthanded and unable to screen all luggage for