Ignorance is strength?

Intelligence, security and national secrets

Authored by: Brian Rappert , Brian Balmer

Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415718967
eBook ISBN: 9781315867762
Adobe ISBN: 9781317964674

10.4324/9781315867762.ch34

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Abstract

Ignorance pervades the areas of intelligence, security and national secrets. In their quest to know about the activities of others, defense and intelligence agencies must cope with gaps in their knowledge, outwardly project some sense of what they know, but also conceal precisely how much they know and do not know. Ignorance is both an obsession and forgotten, embraced and rejected, induced and deterred, milled and disregarded, as well as lived with and ever sought to be banished. The Janus-faced quality of ignorance – living with it while trying to eliminate it – not only pertains to such contrasts, but also the frequent suggestion, suspicion or paranoia that any claim to know (or not) proffered by those in the business of intelligence and national security might be an act of deliberate deception.

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