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Lying About Terrorism


Conventional wisdom holds that terrorism is committed for strategic reasons as a form of costly signaling to an audience. However, since over half of terrorist attacks are not credibly claimed, conventional wisdom does not explain many acts of terrorism. This article suggests that there are four lies about terrorism that can be incorporated in a rationalist framework: false claiming, false flag, the hot-potato problem, and the lie of omission. Each of these lies about terrorism can be strategically employed to help a group achieve its desired goal(s) without necessitating that an attack be truthfully claimed.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Kearns, Erin M., Brendan Conlon, and Joseph K. Young. 2014. "Lying About Terrorism." Studies in Conflict &Terrorism 37 (April): 422-439. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1057610X.2014.893480#.VdNK9_lVhBd

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