Plausible Deniability

Plausible Deniability Sociology Definition


Plausible deniability refers to the capacity to deny participation in unlawful or immoral conduct while knowing there is insufficient evidence to show such engagement definitively.  The denial is reasonable or plausible since there is no supporting evidence. The employment of the strategy demands planning, such as purposefully creating the circumstances to escape accountability for one’s future conduct credibly.

It is individuals’ capacity, usually, government executives and political framework in an informal or formal command structure, to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any heinous acts carried out by members of their organizational hierarchy.


It is a situation in which a person may safely and credibly deny knowledge of any specific fact that may exist because the subject has been purposefully kept in the dark about the truth in question to their advantage or to protect them from any liability that could arise from knowing it.

This aspect of plausible deniability is crucial for assisting social science scholars in comprehending how the most common informal fallacies function in actuality as believable deception techniques in commonplace arguments.

In politics, maintaining it often refers to the practice of concealing from top leadership the organization’s involvement in illegal activities. If the leaders are questioned about such unlawful conduct, they will have “plausible deniability.”

The phrase was first used when the US Senate’s Church Committee began looking into US intelligence organizations in the 1970s.

The course of the investigation revealed that the CIA had planned the assassination of several foreign leaders, including Fidel Castro of Cuba, going back to the Kennedy administration. However, the president, who fully endorsed such actions, was not to be directly involved so he could deny knowledge of it.

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