I often gaze upon leaders  in politics, especially  presidents of the United States, and wonder: How much inside stuff are they told?   How much top-secret information, on a host of issues, do they have?  How much are they not briefed on? How much is deliberately withheld from them lest they go to work shutting something down or spilling the covert program to the public or media?

How much do they operate under  “plausible deniability?”  That is defined  as the “denial of blame in loose and informal chains of command where upper rungs quarantine the blame to the lower rungs, and the lower rungs are often inaccessible, meaning confirming responsibility for the action is nearly impossible.”  In simple terms, keep the big boss clueless, and all sorts of wild mischief and profitably enterprises get to keep going on.

Under plausible deniabilty when any illegal or seamy activities by government or the organization becomes public, the top dogs can legitimately deny their awareness of the skullduggery, even though they may approve of the activities’ goals or results.   President Ronald Reagan used that defense in Iran Contra, and we heard a lot of that in connection with waterboarding during the George W. Bush Administration.

It becomes a well-managed hierarchy of authority and carefully laid out duties in divisions of labor  to ensure no one can directly link high-profile leaders with the nasty business of the world they seek to manage.  So what am I getting at? Just try to imagine all the covert enterprises,  research and undertakings that go on under the auspices of the federal government alone.  Beyond the intelligence work, espionage and national security machinations  that take place outside of scrutiny by anyone we have elected, there are the more offbeat areas:

— What does the President know about the top-secret technology being developed in the vast wasteland of Nevada, known as Area 51? It’s said that isolated, patrolled land with 100-mile long roads to get to work areas have weapons and aircraft being developed and tested that defy conventional mechanics and normal rules of science.  Maybe the president, in fact, gets to tour Area 51 and is able to see what billions of dark-budget dollars are spent on to ensure the U.S. always stays ahead of the game in defense and technology.

— Decades of unidentified flying object reports supposedly fill Pentagon files, yet the government officially does not acknowledge them, usually attributing reports to military aircraft, high altitude balloons or whatever.   Does the president ever take a day off and head to the bowels of the Defense Department to page through reports, watch videos of UFOs and get a sense of what is there and what is suppressed from the public?

— What scandals have been protected through top-secret labels and clearance?  This government must be crawling with people who know what the public doesn’t know and see no advantage of  informing the people lest it sets off a furor that jeopardizes their million-dollar trade.

So what does the president know and when did he know it?   Does a well-intentioned presidential candidate  think he will “find out the truth” on a score of issues once in office and make public what has no business being kept secret? Or is the leader  neutralized by stern warnings by underlings that the public is incapable of handling the truth of the 1947 Roswell, N.M, alien aircrash?  Or dozens of other events that have become factual property of the government.  Clearly, a president is so beset with issues and work that he probably lacks the time to roam through the underbelly of the vast bureaucracy to discover the frightening stuff that is going on taxpayer money.

But if the president, commander-in-chief, highest elected leader of the land is the one in control, shouldn’t he be a bit like God — all-knowing and all-powerful to probe and explore and be privy to the nation’s deepest secrets?

If we knew just some of what lurks in the workshops of  mega-U.S. government, we’d be frightened out of our wits. And I am afraid our elected leaders are as much in the dark about the truth as we are.