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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Plausible Deniability

Plausible Deniability

By Wikipedia.org
March 3, 2016

Plausible Deniability is the ability for persons (typically senior
officials in a formal or informal chain of command) to deny
knowledge of or responsibility for any damnable actions committed
by others (usually subordinates in an organizational hierarchy)
because of a lack of evidence that can confirm their participation,
even if they were personally involved in or at least willfully
ignorant of the actions.

The objective is for the focus, in damaging revelations, to be
redirected typically to subordinates in the organizational hierarchy.

In the case that illegal or otherwise disreputable and unpopular
activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any
awareness of such act in order to insulate themselves and shift
blame onto the agents who carried out the acts, confident that
their doubters will be unable to prove otherwise.

The lack of evidence to the contrary ostensibly makes the denial
plausible, that is, credible, although sometimes it merely makes
it unactionable.

The term typically implies forethought, such as intentionally setting
up the conditions to plausibly avoid responsibility for one's (future)
actions or knowledge.

In some organizations, legal doctrines such as command
responsibility exist to hold major parties responsible for
the actions of subordinates involved in heinous acts and
nullify any legal protection that their denial of involvement
would carry.

In politics and espionage, deniability refers to the ability of a
powerful player or intelligence agency to pass the buck and avoid
blowback by secretly arranging for an action to be taken on their
behalf by a third party ostensibly unconnected with the major
player.

In political campaigns, "Plausible Deniability" enables candidates
to stay clean and denounce third-party advertisements that use
unethical approaches or potentially libellous innuendo.

Plausible Deniability is also a legal concept.

It refers to lack of evidence proving an allegation.

Standards of proof vary in civil and criminal cases.

In civil cases, the standard of proof is, "preponderance of
the evidence" whereas in a criminal matter, the standard
is "beyond a reasonable doubt."

If an opponent cannot provide evidence for his allegation,
one can plausibly deny the allegation even though it may
be true.

Although plausible deniability has existed throughout history,
the name for it was coined by the CIA in the early 1960s to
describe the withholding of information from senior officials
in order to protect them from repercussions in the event that
illegal or unpopular activities by the CIA became public knowledge.

Because of this the official evidence that would confirm high level
government participation, even if 100 percent directly or indirectly,
knowledgeable, and/or personally involved, or at the very least,
willfully ignorant of the actions, there is no official accountability.

The roots of the name go back to Harry Truman's national security
council paper 10/2 of June 18, 1948, which defined "covert
operations" as "...all activities conducted pursuant to this directive
which are so planned and executed that any U.S. Government
responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and
that if uncovered the U.S. Government can plausibly disclaim any
responsibility for them."

[NSC 5412 was de-classified in 1977, and is located at the National
Archives, RG 273.]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plausible_deniability

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