HOME

TheInfoList




An open secret is a concept or idea that is "officially" (''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
'') secret or restricted in knowledge, but in practice (''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'') is widely known; or it refers to something that is widely known to be true but which none of the people most intimately concerned are willing to categorically acknowledge in public.


Popular examples


Government and military

One famous "open secret" is that of
Area 51 Area 51 is the common name of a highly classified United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lowe ...
, a
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
military base A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense arm ...
containing an aircraft testing facility. The U.S. Government did not explicitly affirm the existence of any military facility near
Groom Lake Area 51 is the common name of a highly classified United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight unif ...
,
Lincoln CountyLincoln County may refer to: Australia *Lincoln County, New South Wales *the former name of Lincoln Land District, Tasmania Canada *Lincoln County, Ontario, one of the historic counties of Ontario United Kingdom *The archaic term "County of Linco ...
,
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Nevada
, until 2013, when the
CIA The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA; ), known informally as "The Agency" and "The Company", is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. ...
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. Yet despite this, the base was demonstrably and widely acknowledged to exist for many years before the CIA officially confirmed its existence. The immense secrecy has made it the frequent subject of
conspiracy theories A conspiracy theory is an explanation for an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful groups, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable.Additional sources: * * * * The term has a ne ...
and a central component to
UFO An unidentified flying object (UFO) is any perceived aerial phenomenon that cannot be immediately identified or explained. On investigation, most UFOs are identified ''Identified'' is the second studio album by Vanessa Hudgens, released ...
folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psycholog ...

folklore
. Likewise,
Delta Force The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment–Delta (1st SFOD-D), commonly referred to as Delta Force, Combat Applications Group (CAG), "The Unit", or within JSOC as Task Force Green,In a 2010 article, Marc Ambinder reported that Army Compar ...
can be considered an open secret, since its existence has been denied in the past by the United States Government. The
National Security Agency The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency An intelligence agency is a government agency responsible for the collection, Intelligence analysis, analysis, and exploitation of information in support of law enforce ...

National Security Agency
was formally established by
President Truman Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs ...
in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9. Since President Truman's memo was a classified document, the existence of the NSA was not known to the public at that time. Due to its ultra-secrecy the U.S. intelligence community referred to the NSA as "No Such Agency". Camp Mirage is the codename for a former
Canadian Forces The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF; french: Forces armées canadiennes; ''FAC'') is the unified military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare ...
forward logistics facility located in
Dubai Dubai ( ; ar, دبي, translit=Dubayy , ) is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country i ...

Dubai
,
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregio ...

United Arab Emirates
. The facility was established in late December 2001 and, though not officially acknowledged by the Canadian Forces, was considered an open secret. The existence of the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
Secret Intelligence Service The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6, is the foreign intelligence service of the United Kingdom, tasked mainly with the covert overseas collection and analysis of human intelligence (intelligence collection), human in ...
(MI6) was widely known for several decades before the government's official acknowledgement of the organisation in 1994. Its Australian counterpart, ASIS, was the subject of a newspaper exposé years before its existence was officially acknowledged.
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

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 A policy of deliberate ambiguity (also known as a policy of strategic ambiguity, ''strategic uncertainty'') is the practice by a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State ...
. Completed in 1964, the Post Office Tower was an official secret until it was officially revealed by
Kate Hoey Catharine Letitia Hoey, Baroness Hoey (born 21 June 1946), better known as Kate Hoey, is a Northern Irish politician and life peer who served as Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Home Affairs from 1998 to 1999 and Minister for Sport ...
under
parliamentary privilege Parliamentary privilege is a legal immunity enjoyed by members of certain legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, pat ...
in 1993, despite being a tall structure in the middle of central London that was open to the public for about 15 years, and had already become present in popular culture by that point. Its location was, therefore, for a time, apparently prohibited from being indicated on maps (in the UK largely created by a government agency, the
Ordnance Survey , nativename_a = , nativename_r = , logo = Ordnance Survey 2015 Logo.svg , logo_width = 240px , logo_caption = , seal = , seal_width = , seal_caption = , picture = , picture_width = , picture_caption = , formed = , preceding1 = , di ...
).


Entertainment

Kayfabe In professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in advance, typically between performers with established character roles. The ...
, or the presentation of
professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, called 'matches', held by touring companies called Professional wrestling promotion, promotions, in ...
as "real" or unscripted, is an open secret, kept displayed as legitimate within the confines of wrestling programs but openly acknowledged as predetermined by wrestlers and promoters in the context of interviews for decades. In television, the primary real-world identity of
The Stig The Stig is a character from the British motoring television show '' Top Gear''. Created by former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson and producer Andy Wilman, the character is a play on the anonymity of racing drivers' full-face helmets, with t ...
, a costumed and masked television test-driver used by
BBC Television BBC Television is a service of the BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban ...
for '' Top Gear'', was an open secret until the unofficial
embargo Economic sanctions are commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective for:) commerce, a system of v ...
was broken by a newspaper in 2009.


See also

* He never married * Pronoun game * Secret de Polichinelle


References

{{reflist Secrecy LGBT linguistics