Yesterday’s Thoughts

June 6, 2005

Neither Confirm Nor Deny

At a social gathering yesterday, CL recounted an experience she had while in the US Air Force. She was stationed at a base base (I can’t recall which one, maybe Castle?) that was part of the Strategic Air Command. They were under strict orders to respond to any and all questions about the presence of nuclear weapons with the following sentence, “I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons.”

There was widespread agreement that this meant “Yes.”

I couldn’t help seeing a better approach based on my experience.

All Air Force personel, at every base, should be given instruction to repeat the same phrase. If you don’t want to communicate information to your adversary, your response to a probe has to be independent of the truth.

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