Intelligence and Deception



If we accept that good intelligence is essential to successful action, it follows that intelligence will tend to invoke deception on the part of an ingenious adversary, with the object of leading up to a surprise which he can turn to advantage. And before we consider the problem in the military and political spheres it may be illuminating to look at some manifestations in the natural world. ‘Illuminating’ is indeed a suitable term for our first example, because it concerns fireflies; these have been discovered to flash their lights as sexual recognition signals, each species having its own characteristic sequence of flashes. It has further been established1 that female flies of the species photuris versicolor lure the males of other species by mimicking the recognition signals emitted by the females of those species. The unfortunate males, duped into thinking that they are homing on females of their own kind, are then caught and devoured.


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© Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr and Uri Ra’anan 1981

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