Implausible Deniability

I remember watching the Iran Contra hearings as they unfolded. (Wow – I remember a lot of political stuff from growing up: 1980s election, Poland under martial law!)  It was quite educational in terms of what our government is capable of.

Oliver North


It also taught me a new term: Plausible Deniability.

The idea of building up what amounted to an alibi of ignorance to protect higher ups who were guilty intrigued me.  Being the rule follower that I am, I was aghast that people would so blatantly lie to cover up for a superior. The intriguing part was the amount of forethought that had to go into those lies to make them believable. I am not a “think ten steps ahead” type of gal – obviously!

What brought all of this to the front of my attention was when I recently rediscovered a photo of myself that must have been taken when I was about 12.

Tom's Family Reunion

This is a cropped version with me, Ma and Tom. The rest of the picture showed that the event must have been a reunion for Tom’s family. In seeing this one and a few others taken on the day, it looks like it was a great event. I don’t have any recollection of it at all.

I am normally the one that remembers unusual events and reminds everyone else about them years later. That is what I do! Occasionally a couple events will morph into one in my memory, but they are still there. How do I not remember this fun reunion?

This has wracked my brain for a while. I’ve decided I know why I don’t remember it: I wasn’t there. Despite the photographic evidence, since I don’t remember it, it didn’t happen. That is my brain’s logical answer. I’m so glad I didn’t go the legal route after all! I guess my solution to this mental dissonance would be called implausible deniability.

Who else among my readers can normally remember a lifetime of obscure outings? or What political memories shaped you growing up?

8 thoughts on “Implausible Deniability”

  1. Since you posted Col. North being sworn for testimony I will comment on what his lawyer said because I remember that clearly. When Col. North was asked questions during the inquiry, his lawyer (Brendan Sullivan) objected repeatedly. Sullivan was in his role as defense counsel in the Iran-Contra affair. During the ensuing congressional hearings, chairman Daniel Inouye suggested that North should speak for himself, because he had wearied of Sullivan’s constant objections to questions put to North. Sullivan responded, “Well, sir, I’m not a potted plant. I’m here as the lawyer. That’s my job.” Hillarious! That practically made me want to be a lawyer if not for all the other aspects of the job!


  2. Just the other day my daughter brought something up that I have no recollection of. She got so frustrated with me that eventually I just said that I did remember. It reminded me of all the times I couldn’t believe that my mother forgot things that were so important to me. Ultimately, we all have certain things that make a bigger impression on us than others.


    1. You are so right that certain events simply stick with us better than others. My mom tried to help me remember the event. I told her I wasn’t there. That is my story and I’m sticking to it.


  3. I find our memories to fascinating. Like, you know, why do remember certain random things, usually moments, and others not at all? Where do they go? How can we resurface them? I’ve read that if we go under hypnosis we can remember anything and everything because it IS all stored in our subconscious. Like we would be able to remember who sat in the front of our row in 2nd grade, or the exact color and placement of the clock in our classroom, etc. What we wore on a Tuesday in 1983. Really? It’s all there. And circling back again, why do some remain and some hide? Implausible Deniability is a good moniker for the problem – although someone would have circumstantial evidence against you saying you weren’t there, my dear. Darn.


    1. I don’t think I’d want to remember everything. That would be so unnecessary! It is strange that certain things make a such a big mark on us that we can recall them when hundreds of others disappeared.

      I find it hilarious to stick to my guns about not being there when there is proof that I was. There goes my twisted sense of humor again!


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