[lit-ideas] Re: I had absolutely no idea ...

  • From: Eric Yost <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2006 12:15:53 -0500

I don't know why that Rummy line got such a bad rep. It makes perfect sense in light of the global threats facing the West. And anyone who reads a book about intelligence-gathering will know it's spot-on accurate.

>"As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know."

For example, we know China is building up a huge blue-water Navy as part of its general military build-up.

>"We also know there are known unknowns - that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know."

For example, we know the Saudis operate spy satellites, but we don't fully understand the extent of their signal intelligence.

>"But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't
know we don't know."

Classic example of this is Pakistan. Two weeks after (then) Ambassador Richardson returned from his Pakistan trip, with massive assurances that the Pakis weren't going to develop nuclear weapons, the Pakis tested their first nuclear weapon. The Clinton folks were completely caught off guard by an "unknown unknown." Happens to everyone.

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