March 05, 2017

The Truth? You can't handle The Truth.

Viktor Leonov - February 27th 2014 in Havana, Cuba
Photo Credit: Unknown
In any DoD / Pentagon / Military Press Release there are at least 4 versions of the truth.

1. The Press Release

Carefully crafted to match the narrative du-jour, the military will put out intentional leaks to journalists, or official press releases through a Public Affairs office, that fit with whatever message they are trying to convey to their citizens and internationally.

NB Classifications
Even "Unclassified" information is a classification, so watch for how the term is used.  (eg, "sorry, I can't give that to you, it's classified" doesn't mean it's Secret or Top Secret, necessarily.)

2. Unclassified / For Official Use Only

You didn't think the Pentagon would tell you what was actually happening did you?  Well maybe they did, maybe they didn't, but there is a less massaged briefing note somewhere that wasn't that Press Release, and has more dirt about whatever it is, and is supposed to be for internal / official use.  Different governments have different names for this classification.  You can find 1950s Cold War briefs that fit into this category if you hunt the public government archives sites to see how boring they are.

3. Secret

"Secret" classification could be something about ship or troop movements, highly detailed maps, perhaps info gained by Satellite intelligence with some details left out for a senior military brief... or many things.  The story in the Press Release will likely look considerably different at this level; it will show casualty counts of an enemy encounter, details about where enemy forces came from and intelligence gathered - but still mostly avoid mentioning the methods (Did the info come from a paid informant?).  You can find examples of this in the Bradley Manning Wikileaks docs from the Afghanistan files.

4. Top Secret (and above)

You're going to find the names of informants, what sort of weapons systems nobody knows about, information about secret satellite programs - whatever. This is where you find "The Truth" if it exists.  You will find blame, you will find unredacted imagery, you will find evidence of things that "don't exist", whatever crazy conspiracy stuff that you think they have at Area 51 is in here, potentially at a higher classification than Top Secret.  My point is, this is where that Press Release has all the truth, or as much truth as you can find.  The Snowdon files are at this level, and they disclose methods and technology used by several agencies.


What we, the public, get as a press release is a shadow of the original story, and only has what the military and the government believe we need to know to keep us satisfied and quiet.

We don't need to know the names of the dead. We don't need to know the names of the local corrupt mayor in some shit-hole mud hut on the other side of the world.  We don't need to know we're paying off some of the bad guys to allow our troops safe passage through their turf.  We don't need to know who we plan on assassinating next.  Let the military do their job, we don't need to second guess them all the time.

Except... (You knew there was going to be a "but", right?)

Russian Naval surface ship movements, when they're literally within sight of the shore, should not be hidden from the public and teased out in geometric riddles. That's just cruel and unusual to those of us interested in tracking  those surface assets.

Hey, Captain, Major, Colonel, General... They know you know where they are. We know you know where they are. Who does it help to keep that information classified and out of reach of Joe Public?

Yes, I understand that the military won't tell us the locations of every Russian sub, if they knew every sub in every ocean, but there is no reason not to share surface-ship movement information near the coast of the USA. Ships can be seen from space, they can sometimes be seen from shore, and they can certainly be seen by sensors, or by a ship that shadows them.  I am pleased for getting the leaks we do from Lucas @ Fox's Pentagon source, regarding the position information of the Viktor Leonov.  She has been off the coast of the USA since mid-February, but I'd really prefer if the military just spilled all the data when the Russians are done their mission so those of us who are interested could analyse the data whole.

Throw me a bone!

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