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ssh-add error


I would like to know if ssh-add is working as it is intended:

here is what I did:
mrdesk@desk ~/_pla $ ssh-add
Enter passphrase for /home/mrdesk/.ssh/id_rsa: 

here I entered nothing, the key does have, and was expecting a passphrase...  ssh-add failed silently.  

mrdesk@desk ~/_pla $ ssh-add
Enter passphrase for /home/mrdesk/.ssh/id_rsa: 
Identity added: /home/mrdesk/.ssh/id_rsa (/home/mrdesk/.ssh/id_rsa)

here I typed the passphrase and it happily says it worked. 

Can you tell me if the former silent error is intended? I'm kind of a novice and found myself stuck for an hour on an ssh authentication failure because I didn't realize the first effort was a failure, since it fails silently. 

mrdesk@desk ~/_pla $ ssh -v 
OpenSSH_5.9p1 Debian-5, OpenSSL 1.0.1 14 Mar 2012

-Carl Macmillan

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