A private security guard at Newark Liberty International Airport was arrested on charges of threatening Barack Obama the night before the president was to fly there.
A Continental Airlines employee reported overhearing John Brek make threatening comments at an airport coffee cart yesterday afternoon. The nature of the threats wasn't clear.
The 55-year-old security guard was arrested several hours later, Port Authority spokesman John Kelly said. He denied making the threats, said Malcolm Wiley, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service.
Obama will be in the Garden State today to campaign for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.
Brek allowed police to search his Linden home and officers found 43 firearms, Kelly said. The firearms were still being processed, but no illegal guns had been found.
A message left by The Associated Press at Brek's home Wednesday was not immediately returned. His father, John, told The Star-Ledger of Newark that his son has the guns because he's an avid hunter.
Air Force One is scheduled to land at the Newark airport Wednesday afternoon.
"We take every threat very seriously,'' Wiley said. "We don't have the luxury of ignoring even the allegation of a threat."
Brek is employed by Floral Park, N.Y.-based FJC Security Services Inc., which has a contract with the Port Authority. Its employees screen airport workers to ensure they have proper credentials, Kelly said.
Brek was arrested by Port Authority Police and charged under state law with making terroristic threats against the president. He has not been arrested on federal charges, Wiley said.
Patrick J. Conroy, executive vice president of FJC, said the company is working with authorities investigating the alleged threat. Brek has been assigned to the Newark airport for the majority of his six years with the company, Conroy said.