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Deception and Counterdeception


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The adversary's deception planners, armed with a wide array of deception methods honed by hundreds of years of practical experience, do not face a corresponding counterdeception organization armed with a similarly wide range of practical counterdeception tools. Instead, we see that the contest between deceiver and target pits deception methods against basic human reasoning capabilities and the formal and informal processes, procedures, policies, and structures of the organization they operate in. […] In a counterdeception context, the prepared mind is receptive to both positive and negative cues (i.e., something is different, surprising, or missing) and is then able to bring to bear a number of counterdeception methods – collection, analytical, or operational – on the problems of simultaneously detecting and penetrating the deception. The prepared organization is able to collect and organize insights and discoveries generated by individuals and teams and integrate it into the target's (political leaders and military commanders) common perception and understanding of the environment and situation in a way that negates or mitigates the effects of the intended deception. It is the prepared mind and organization, supported by a range of collection methods, analytical methods and techniques, and operational capabilities that makes the target less susceptible to deception.

Bennett, M. and Waltz E., Counterdeception Principles and Applications for National Security, Boston-London, Artech House, 2007, p. 175-176.


The word “counterdeception” is convenient shorthand for “the detection of deception” and now is a standard jargon among specialists in military deception. [...] To detect deception we must first understand what deception is and how it works. [...] Even some of my colleagues prefer to pursue inscrutable models of deception. They concede only that it may be possible to develop theories of deception with some after-the fact explanatory value; they doubt the possibility of any theory that could predict a deception. In other words, they challenge the very possibility of detecting deception in any systematic way. For them detection can occur only by accident. [...] Deception is really a simple process, often rich in its details and apparent variety but not in its psychological essence. And, because deceit is basically simple, its detection is, in theory, also simple.

Bart Whaley and Jeffrey Busby, "Detecting Deception: Practice, Practitioners, and Theory", in Godson, R. and Wirtz, J. J. (eds), Strategic Denial and Deception, pp. 189-190.

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