Say these two words out loud, one right after the other: "reconnaissance" and "recognizance." Pretty similar, especially if you say them quickly, aren't they? The real distinction, given their similarity to the ear, should be the context.
Poor Melissa Leong at CanWest missed that entirely:
"They were going to come up here for refuge and what we were going to do was provide a safe house for them and we even scoped the area out, did a little recognizance," Mr. Shaikh said. [Babbler's bold]
Maybe he should have just said "recce" and waited for the journalists to ask him to spell it so they could look it up.