On Deceiving Terrorists   [open pdf - 3MB]

This thesis addresses the use of deception as one means available to states for dealing with terrorists. It begins by exploring the body of theoretical literature to establish the foundation necessary for a thorough discussion of deception. Next, the thesis examines the reasons for state use of deception in interstate conflict. From this list, three potential uses of deception against terrorists are suggested. Specifically, the thesis proposes that states use deception to create and exploit organizational inefficiencies and weaknesses in terrorist organizations, facilitate counter-terrorist operations, and conceal counter-terrorist capabilities and intentions. Subsequently, the cases presented herein reveal that states have in fact successfully used deception in the past with all three purposes in mind. Finally, this thesis also explores the often-overlooked subject of costs and risks, demonstrating that the use of deception is almost never without expense. Even when deception succeeds, its use inevitably incurs costs and opens the door to certain risks. Moreover, the study shows that deception-while both legal and ethical in the larger sense-might be illegal or unethical in certain applications. In the end, though, this thesis shows that deception is, indeed, a valuable tool against terrorists.

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Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: http://www.nps.edu/Library/index.aspx
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