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Deception 101--Primer on Deception

Deception 101--Primer on Deception - Cover

Authored by Dr. Joseph W Caddell.

December 2004

26 Pages

Brief Synopsis

The author reviews the basic concepts related to "deception." Dr. Joseph Caddell defines terms, provides historical examples, and discusses problems associated with deception. He provides a general overview, a "primer" which is not directed at those who already possess a working knowledge of deception operations. Nevertheless, given the complex and everchanging nature of deception in the political-military environment, it may serve as a useful reminder of the basic assumptions and methods concerning the subject.


Deception is a traditional component of political and military conflict. Indeed, many argue that it is intrinsic to all human interaction. It is sometimes mistakenly confused with unintentional confusion or misinformation. Disinformation, intentional deception, should not be confused with misinformation. Deception depends on two criteria: first, it is intentional; and, second, it is designed to gain an advantage for the practitioner.

Deception in the forms of concealment and activity designed to mislead is common in nature. Protective coloration serves to protect some flora and fauna―either by making them difficult to see or by causing them to resemble something of little interest to predators. Some animals will feign injury to lure predators away from nests or offspring. Students of deception note these examples as evidence of the utility and effectiveness of disinformation even beyond the human experience.

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