If I want to find the leak in my agency, I tell twenty people twenty stories and wait to see which emerges.

If I want to find out who's selling my contact info to spammers, I give every company a different email of mine and check which one gets the spam.

If I want to know who's blackmailing people, I tell each suspect about a different potential victim and watch to see who gets blackmailed next.

How can I refer to this strategy without explaining it?

  • 3
    I’ve always found that the most effective strategy at catching moles to be a feline one. :)
    – tchrist
    Aug 20, 2015 at 1:21

2 Answers 2



"Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately.[1] It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false." Quoted from Wikipedia

There was an elaborate program of disinformation in WWII to convince the Germans that the invasion would not be at Normandy, but at Calais. If you like science fiction, see Connie Willis "All Clear", the sequel to "Blackout". Strange, I agree to list SF as a reference, but her depiction of WWII in London and key places in England was extraordinarily well researched.

  • I should have referenced Wikipedia for the first paragraph quote. And, thanks for the acceptance.
    – ab2
    Aug 20, 2015 at 1:34
  • You should edit your answer to add the Wikipedia reference.
    – Jim
    Aug 20, 2015 at 4:15
  • @ab2: I think disinformation just means "false intel". The disinformation could have many purposes not including catching a mole. I don't know of a single word or term meaning "false intel to catch a mole".
    – James
    Aug 20, 2015 at 11:12
  • @James I am packing for a trip, so I can't pursue this farther than this message: See "War of the Moles: The Lessons of LeCarre" at google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=disinformation%2C+LeCarre.
    – ab2
    Aug 20, 2015 at 13:44
  • The email example in the OP's second paragraph is planting true intel as those are actual email addresses. They are not disinformation, per se.
    – rajah9
    Aug 20, 2015 at 13:55

Moles and other vermin are often caught with bait.

As a noun, bait is

a poisoned lure used in exterminating pests. (definition 2)

an allurement; enticement (definition 3)

As a verb, to bait is

to entice by deception or trickery so as to entrap or destroy (definition 8)

to attract, tempt, or captivate (definition 9)

The fine disinformation answer from @ab2 leans more toward the false intel, while the bait answer leans more toward to catch a mole.

  • Good answer. I am going to reread "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" on the plane tomorrow.
    – ab2
    Aug 20, 2015 at 15:10
  • Not surprising that the Spy Master, le Carré, would end up taking a part of these answers.
    – rajah9
    Aug 20, 2015 at 15:18

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