SpyCast 8.16.22
Ep 552 | 8.16.22

“The Information Battlespace” – Foreign Denial and Deception with Bill Parquette

Show Notes


Bill Parquette (LinkedIn; Website) joins Andrew (Twitter; LinkedIn) to discuss Denial and Deception. They discuss examples such as D-Day, the Yom Kippur War, and the Persian Gulf War.

What You’ll Learn


  • Denial and deception – what it is and why it matters
  • Key examples of denial and deception
  • Detecting denial and deception operations
  • How to avoid seeing monsters everywhere


  • How to counter denial and deception in everyday life (children, salespeople, etc.) 
  • Stumbling into new roles in new fields

And much, much more…

Episode Notes

Sun Tzu said, “all warfare is based on deception” and so much of the natural world is also based on denial and deception: camouflage, feigning, mimicry, distraction. It is also a feature of our daily 21st century lives: spyware, trojan horses, catfishing, and spear phishing.

With this week’s guest we look at the Denial and Deception Committee, which aimed to discover and mitigate foreign denial and deception operations against the U.S. by coordinating efforts throughout the IC.

Bill Parquette was a former Chair of the Committee. He joined the Committee in 2002 and left in 2015. He was formerly a Lt. Col. In the U.S. Army, starting his career with 10 years in the 82nd Airborne, and is currently Professor of Practice at Penn State University. 


The episode looks at deceiving others but the human capacity for self-deception and denial is VAST – from head in the sand, plugging your ears, living in denial, willful ignorance, and cognitive dissonance through to doublethink. 

Quote of the Week

"If I have an audience of one or 100, I ask does anyone have children? And the hands get raised. And then I said, okay, did you teach your child deception or denial? And of course not. Do they conduct denial or deception? And they all said yeah, it's throughout nature, it's throughout society…it's a natural thing to deny. I didn't mom I didn't take that cookie." – Bill Parquette


Headline Resources

Andrew’s Recommendation



Beginner Resources


  • History of the National Intelligence Council, Hutchings &. Treverton, eds. (OUP, 2019)
  • Practice to Deceive, B. Whaley (NIP, 2016)
  • The Watchman Fell Asleep, U. Bar-Joseph (SUNY, 2005)
  • The Deceivers, T. Holt (Scribner, 2004)
  • Deception 101, J. Caddell (Army War College, 2004)
  • Strategic Denial and Deception, Godson & Wirtz eds. (Transaction, 2002)
  • Deception in War, J. Latimer (Overlook, 2001)


Primary Sources 

*Wildcard Resource*