It’s not what you think.
And furthermore, it’s not my story.
This is the story of how Larry O’Donnell (my brother-in-law and sometimes guest blogger) became a member of my family. He’ll tell the story, although I might interject comments here or there. It bears only slight resemblance to the Richard Dreyfuss movie Stakeout.
How I Met My Wife by Larry O’Donnell
Dianne has asked me, on a number of occasions, to relate this story. As with many of my life’s turning points, distant events were the precursors of big changes for me. Osama Bin Laden started the sequence of events that led to my meeting Deb. It was not part of his plan, but an unforeseen consequence. I was well acquainted with OBL since the mid-nineties but that is a tale that can’t be told.
(Yeah, there are still some stories he won’t tell us. It just boggles our imagination.)
On September 11, 2001, I was one of millions glued to a television watching the fire in the first tower as a jet hit the second tower. My boss, the Agent in Charge of the U.S. Customs Office of Investigations in Philadelphia, was trying to reach our New York office, located in number 7 World Trade Center. After the second impact, we knew it wasn’t an accident. Miraculously, all our personnel escaped injury, though one agent was trapped in the basement for a while when the first tower collapsed.
My boss had me form a response team in the event that other attacks might ensue or that we might have to help in New York. So, when a two ton load of marijuana was intercepted in Delaware and we needed an arrest team to reinforce the operation, we had twelve agents ready to go. It was at this point I met a DEA agent named Dave who would play a significant role in my marriage to Deb.
My group’s priority was to locate and dismantle terrorist financial networks in the United States, arrest the principals, and seize their assets. In January 2002, our narcotics smuggling group needed help for an operation near Kennett Square, PA. I volunteered. On Sunday, January 27, 2002, I reported to the State Police station at Avondale, Pennsylvania.
The briefing addressed concern for the safety of the cooperating truck driver and the undercover DEA agent riding with him. An information source suggested that the smugglers might ‘silence’ the driver. The delivery location was known, but surveillance could only be established by remote camera. If the smugglers turned violent, observation would not protect the driver and our agent. The solution was to insert a well concealed “observer” team hours earlier. My DEA friend, Dave, and I agreed to do this job.
My life was about to undergo a change that I could never have foreseen. And I wasn’t the only one who was going to be surprised.
(Wondering how my family could possibly be involved in this story? Come back Wednesday to find out …)