Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from another

[edit] Misdirection in literature
Misdirection is also a literary device most commonly employed in detective fiction, where the attention of the reader is deliberately focused on a red herring in order to conceal the identity of the murderer. The means for this form of misdirection may include false clues, false motives or more purely literary methods such as exposition, dialogue, and interior monologue. In a whodunit, misdirection can take place on two separate levels: within the narrative the criminal may attempt to implicate a third party in order to elude the detective; or the author may implicate an innocent party in order to distract the reader. If the watch on a victim's wrist has apparently stopped at 3:00 p.m., this may be because the killer has broken the watch and reset it in order to create a false time of death, but it may equally be the writer's intention to plant that false suspicion in the reader's mind.
For example, in their novel Dance of Death, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child use misdirection to suggest several possible causes for the falling of lumber and the occurrence of loud snapping sounds that Margo Green hears as she walks through museum exhibits in the wee hours of the morning. First she thinks that the sounds are made by boards that have chanced to fall over after construction crew workers have left them precariously balanced upon quitting the work of the day. Next, she supposes that the sounds are made by a night guard tripping over a loose board. Then, she wonders whether the sounds are made by someone playing a practical joke on her. None of these possibilities turns out to be the actual cause of the sounds.

When you possess sensitive information that others desire, you might become the target of a variety of techniques of varying ethical value. Understanding those techniques, and preparing to resist them, helps protect your information, your career, and perhaps even your life.
The more sensitive the information,the more likely we are to encounterpersistent and skillful seekersof that informationSome seekers have extensive resources that are out of view of the target. They use these resources to wring value out of even the most unlikely bits of data. Here are some examples of resource-based methods

This technique involves integrating partial information from multiple targets to make a useful whole. It's effective when the targets feel that they're safe in revealing a minimal bit of data, not realizing that other targets might reveal other pieces. Indicators of this method are questions about details, such as what make of car someone owns. "Just curious" is rarely a reasonable justification for questions of this kindRead more:

Non-chance chance meeting
If you have a routine, such as often going to the same place for lunch, you might "accidentally" meet the seeker, who strikes up a friendship that appears to be unrelated to your job. Disclosing information to someone you met seemingly by chance can be risky.

False flag
Seekers might represent themselves as law enforcement, reporters, biographers, insurance investigators or similar information gatherers. They might display legitimate-looking credentials or other insignia. Unless you have the expertise required to validate credentials, remain skeptical.

By disclosing something that seems personal or sensitive, seekers can gain the trust of the target. They might offer information that disparages or even harms political foes. When you sense that someone trusts you too easily, consider the possibility that you're the target of a trust-building seeker of sensitive information

Flirtation, flattery and romance
When deftly used, flirtation, flattery and romance are especially effective with those who are vulnerable or naïve. Between socially incompatible types, and when initiated by the more adept of the pair, these tactics could be indicators of information-seeking.
By saying something that's wrong or incomplete, or by setting up the target to demonstrate superior knowledge, the seeker might induce the target to disclose sensitive information. Because many high achievers dislike being corrected or being shown to have inferior skill, accepting correction with little comment and no resistance could be an indicator of this tactic.

Feigning disinterest, either by interruption or by appearing to be distracted, the seeker presents a cue to the target that what was just said was unimportant. Alternatively, the seeker might focus on an unimportant detail of the conversation to mislead the target about what the real point of interest is.

Cultivating friendship over a relatively long period of time, especially when accompanied by a flow of useful information from the seeker to the target, could be an indicator of this tactic. Those most vulnerable have few friends and might even be isolated by internal politics. Managers who allow isolated individuals to remain so are creating a vulnerability to this tactic.

By drawing the target into a secret relationship, the seeker forms a tight bond with the target. One famous example of this technique is Connie Chung's 1995 interview of Newt Gingrich's mother, in which she said, "Why don't you just whisper it to me, just between you and me?" When a seeker suggests confidentiality or secrecy, and revealing the information could be harmful to the target, the seeker could be using this technique.

Shaking the tree

Shaking an orange tree. Photo courtesy US Department of Agriculture.By creating in the target a state of emotional upset, seekers hope to generate out-of-control behavior just to see what falls out. Emotional states that are especially fruitful are anger, fear and romantic rejection.
Good cop, bad cop
In this method, two seekers pursue the target. One uses pressure and fear, while the other uses a kinder and gentler approach. This method still works, despite its being a well known (and overused) plot device in fiction, film and television.
Some questions come gift-wrapped: "Let me ask you...," or "Can I get some information about...," or "I'd like to learn about...," or "Let me pick your brain about...," or "You're an expert on X, can you tell me about..." The wrapping is intended to trigger a desire to cooperate. By interfering withour ability to thinkcritically, seekers ofinformation cansometimes getwhat they want
When we're in contact with someone over a long period of time, as on an extended business trip, we tend to become less guarded. Be alert to probing questions that seem unrelated to the tasks at hand. Limit conversation when you're fatigued or stressed.
Authority or command
Sometimes used by those with organizational power, these methods are also available to certification, legal and enforcement authorities. An example of the latter, from The Firm, by John Grisham

Blackmail, bribery and extortion
Targets of blackmail, bribery or extortion can experience feelings of extreme helplessness. These methods are favorites of the Firm's enforcer, "Bill DeVasher," played by Wilford Brimley in the film.
Substances and wining-and-dining
Seekers might use alcohol, food or other substances in what seems to be a social context. In The Firm, "Avery Tolar" (played by Gene Hackman in the film), uses these methods to make "Mitch McDeere" (played by Tom Cruise) vulnerable to the setup involving the prostitute on the beachRead more: http://www.chacocanyon.com/pointlookout/060412.shtml#ixzz0PCbVnmTg