The only people who "officially" know of the Patriots existence. These are usually the current President, James Johnson in this case, and his right-hand man (Richard Ames.) All former Presidents seem to of died, apart from the last one, President George Sears (Now known as Solidus Snake.) He was fully aware of the Patriots being a President, and when he got stripped of the title he formed a group called Dead Cell, to take on the Patriots, head on.
Soldiers in Metal Gear Solid are fitted with nanomachines. In MGS2 you find out that the Patriots themselves have edited these nanomachines, in the case of some 3rd party member who knows of the Patriots, the guy with the nanomachine will hear it as "La Le Lu Li Lo" instead of "Patriots" so it will make absolutely no sense. This is done in the hope of current soldiers not finding out about them.
I don't have any control. The real power is in the Patriots' hands.
The La Li Lu Le Lo...?
The truth behind this country... I'm not surprised you've never heard of them.
Very few are aware of their existence, even among those with codeword clearance.
Person 2: Nani!? Naze omae ga sutta ka! ( What!? Why did you do that!? )
Person 3: Nan da! Watashi wa zenbu no uma nomikonda. ( That's nothing! I swallowed a whole horse. )
la li lu le lo