Grey is the new black: covert action and implausible deniability

Cormac, Rory and Aldrich, Richard J. (2018) Grey is the new black: covert action and implausible deniability. International Affairs, 94 (3). pp. 477-494. ISSN 0020-5850 (In Press)

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For generations scholars have defined covert action as plausibly deniable interventions in the affairs of others; the sponsor’s hand is neither apparent nor acknowledged. We challenge this orthodoxy. Turning the spotlight away from covert action and onto plausible deniability itself, we argue that even in its supposed heyday, the concept was deeply problematic. Changes in technology and the media, combined with the rise of special forces and private military companies, gives it even less credibility today. We live in an era of implausible deniability and ambiguous warfare. Paradoxically, this does not spell the end of covert action. Instead, leaders are embracing implausible deniability and the ambiguity it creates. We advance a new conception of covert action, historically grounded but fit for the twenty-first century: unacknowledged interference in the affairs of others.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in International Affairs following peer review. The version of record Rory Cormac, Richard J. Aldrich; Grey is the new black: covert action and implausible deniability, International Affairs, Volume 94, Issue 3, 1 May 2018, Pages 477–494, is available online at:
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
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Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2018 10:05
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:51

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