Open Secret

nuclear israel by Osmani Simanca

An open secret is a concept or idea that is ‘officially’ secret or restricted in knowledge but is actually widely known; or it refers to something that is widely known to be true but which none of the people most intimately concerned is willing to categorically acknowledge in public.

The existence of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) was widely known for several decades before the government’s official acknowledgement of the organization in 1994. Likewise, Delta Force, the elite US Army unit, can be considered an open secret, since its existence has been denied in the past by the government. Israel is widely acknowledged to possess nuclear weapons. This can be considered an open secret, because the Israeli government has never explicitly stated whether or not it possesses a nuclear stockpile, officially maintaining a policy of deliberate ambiguity.

One famous ‘open secret’ is that of Area 51, a military base containing an aircraft testing facility. Though its location had long since been discovered, the government did not explicitly affirm the existence of any military facility near Groom Lake, Lincoln County, Nevada until 2013, when the CIA released documents revealing that the site was established to test spy planes. While the general location of the base is now officially acknowledged, the base does not appear on government maps or in declassified satellite photography. The immense secrecy has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to UFOfolklore.

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