A former top CIA official was arrested Thursday evening after allegedly trying to bring a loaded gun, in his carry-on luggage, through a security checkpoint at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport.
Authorities said Alvin Bernard Krongard, 78, of Baltimore County, Md. — who served as executive director of the CIA during George W. Bush’s presidency — was intercepted when he tried to bring a 9mm handgun loaded with five rounds of ammunition past security.
Also known as A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard, he served as the third-ranking CIA official from 2001 to 2004, when the agency was employing the use of harsh interrogation practices. He later was an advisory board member for Blackwater, the security contractor that came under investigation in the killings of unarmed civilians in Iraq in 2007.
Transportation Security Administration officials said Krongard was planning to board a flight to Long Island MacArthur Airport in New York state with the weapon inside his carry-on bag. TSA officials detected the weapon when the bag passed through an X-ray machine at a security checkpoint.
When asked for a comment Friday, Krongard issued a statement through a spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not directly connected with the case.
“He said it was completely inadvertent. He was rushing to go to the airport. Needed an extra carry-on bag and mistakenly grabbed one which held the licensed weapon,” the spokesman said. He said, Krongard “regrets very much inconveniencing TSA security personnel.”
TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said she had no more details about what transpired during the arrest. When TSA officials find a weapon, she said, they turn the person over to police.
In this case, Maryland Transportation Authority Police responded to the security gate at about 5:25 p.m. Thursday. A police spokesman, 1st Sgt. Jonathan Green, said Krongard was taken to the police station for an investigation and was later released. He was arrested on a state charge for interfering with security procedures, Green said.
“This is a relatively common occurrence,” Green said. He said Krongard could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine up to $500.
Krongard — once chief executive and chairman of the Baltimore-based Alex. Brown and Sons, the nation’s oldest investment banking firm — left a $4 million-a-year job to join the CIA in 1998, according to a New York Times story in 2007. He later worked with Blackwater and befriended its founder, Erik D. Prince, and hunted with him, according to the story.
Krongard is currently an executive at Under Armour.
According to BBC reports, Krongard, a former Marine, recently told BBC Panorama that the CIA’s use of waterboarding and painful stress positions — while he was at the agency as a top official — were torture.
Krongard’s gun is the sixth firearm confiscated at BWI so far this year. Last year, TSA detected 14 guns at the airport.
Also Thursday, authorities made an arrest at Hagerstown Regional Airport in Western Maryland. Michael Gregory Prelip, 55, of Winchester, Va., had a 9mm handgun loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition as he went through the airport’s security checkpoint, TSA said. The security officers detected the weapon as Prelip’s carry-on items passed through the X-ray machine. He was traveling to Orlando.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office confiscated the weapon and arrested Prelip on state weapons charges, police said. They said he told deputies that he did not know the handgun was in his bag and he thought he had lost it.
Nationwide, TSA officers have intercepted more than 1,386 guns at security checkpoints this year. Passengers who bring firearms to the checkpoint can face criminal charges and civil penalties of up to $11,000.