Thursday, September 26, 2002

Airport security director named

Louisville sticks with acting chief, retired FBI agent

By The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE - A new federal security director has been named at Louisville International Airport, replacing Bruce J. Brotman, who was suspended and reassigned.

        Robert B. Foster, 54, a Louisville native, had been acting security director at the airport since late June. His appointment was announced Monday.

        Mr. Foster most recently supervised the Lexington FBI office.

        Mr. Brotman was reassigned to another position within the Transportation Security Administration. He was accused of using his position to dodge the airport's security checkpoint with a companion in June.

        Mr. Foster, reached in Washington, D.C., said his first priority will be to increase the number of screening lanes for passengers to reduce their waiting time. The airport has four lanes. Mr. Foster said he is awaiting agency approval on a plan to create additional lanes.

        “We want to have enough staff and lanes to accommodate (the airport's) rush time,” Mr. Foster said.

        Mr. Foster, who lives in Frankfort, said he will continue to assess security and work with airport officials. Another priority is to meet the Dec. 31 deadline for 100 percent baggage screening at the airport, he said.

        “These are my hometown people, and I want to ensure that they have the best customer service and security.”

        Mr. Foster was appointed to the security director position after Mr. Brotman, a 20-year FBI veteran, was recalled to Washington a week before he was to start the job. Mr. Brotman, who had been appointed in May, was accused of using his credentials to get himself and a woman past security at the airport without being screened. The woman apparently was trying to catch a flight, officials said.

        Federal regulations require that all travelers pass through security checkpoints. Mr. Brotman was in Washington within 24 hours of the incident and was the subject of an internal investigation.

        Mr. Foster retired as an FBI special agent after 30 years. Most recently he supervised the Lexington office for seven years, managing investigative matters and serving as the drug program coordinator for Kentucky, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

        Previously, he was assigned to the Washington, D.C., office and the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. He also was team leader of the FBI's National Hostage Rescue Team.

        Kentucky FBI spokesman Dave Beyer described Mr. Foster as a successful street agent and an excellent supervisor. His past experience on the FBI's hostage rescue team means he is trained to handle such incidents at airports and on planes, Mr. Beyer said.

        “He has experience dealing with difficult situations and rapidly developing events,” Mr. Beyer said.

        The federal security director position was created under the National Aviation and Transportation Security Act in November.


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