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It had nothing to do with “luck”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  July 21, 2004 01:29 PM

Byron York’s take on Trousergate is excellent.

He mentions something that caught my eye:

It is not clear why Berger would focus solely on the millennium-plot report. But it is clear that the report has been the object of intense discussions during the September 11 investigation.

The report was the result of a review done by Richard Clarke, then the White House counterterrorism chief, of efforts by the Clinton administration to stop terrorist plots at the turn of the year 2000. At several points in the September 11 commission hearings, Democrats pointed to the millennium case as an example of how a proper counterterrorism program should be run. But sources say the report suggests just the opposite. Clarke apparently concluded that the millennium plot was foiled by luck � a border agent in Washington State who happened to notice a nervous, sweating man who turned out to have explosives in his car � and not by the Clinton administration’s savvy anti-terrorism work.

The border agent was Diana Dean, and as anyone who knows the story of her heroic actions, it had absolutely nothing to do with luck. See her Senate testimony here. Craig Henry at Lead and Gold comments:

Many posts and articles on the Berger matter quote Richard Clarke’s verdict that the Millennium plot to bomb LAX was foiled by luck. Luck, in the sense of a fluke occurrence, had nothing to do with it. A vigilant U.S. Customs Inspector followed up on her suspicions and searched the trunk of a car trying to enter the US at the Canadian border. She expected to find drugs but, instead, found the makings of one or more big bombs.

Her name is Diana Dean and she deserves to have her name remembered and get credit for her good work.

This just isn’t a matter of giving Ms. Dean her rightful credit. It also points to an important lesson going forward in the WoT. No number of principals meetings in Washington or action plans by Homeland Security will protect a single American. The rubber meets the road at the street level where alert LEOs and dedicated investigators do their job.

It is easy to forget that. Journalists, historians, analysts and planners have a tendency to over-emphasize the paper that gets generated, the options selected, and the secrets uncovered. But as John Keegan noted about intelligence in WWII–”ULTRA did not sink a single U-boat.”

Or, as Col. Harry Summers pointed out, in the end every (military) strategic plan always comes down to a single soldier walking point…

That reminds me…gotta add Diana Dean to my list of security moms who rock.

dianadean.jpg

Good refreshers on the Millenium Plot here and here.

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