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The plan for moving Harry before he turned 17 seemed highly risky at best given the fact that its details were leaked to Voldemort. Why did Snape plant this idea on Mundungus, just to deliberately leak the information to Voldemort?

marked as duplicate by Gallifreyan, SQB, Adamant harry-potter Mar 20 '17 at 8:30

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Snape did this on Dumbledore's advice. By moving him early, but deliberately leaking misinformation to the Death Eaters, Snape was exerting a measure of control over the situation, thereby increasing the odds that Harry would be able to be moved safely, while preserving his cover as a Death Eater.

"You will have to give Voldemort the correct date of Harry's departure from his aunt and uncle's," said Dumbledore. "Not to do so will raise suspicion, when Voldemort believes you so well informed. However, you must plant the idea of decoys; that, I think, ought to ensure Harry's safety."

  • Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33, "The Prince's Tale"

While the plan was risky, so were any alternatives. As was noted earlier, Voldemort had people watching the Dursley's. By leaking the information, Snape was controlling the Death Eaters' response as much as possible.

  • True, Dumbledore did suggest it, but Snape gave them accurate information, didn't he? He did include several significant omissions if I'm remembering correctly (like the fact that there'd be seven of them) - I'm not looking at the book though - but his information about when and where the move was happening were exactly correct. I don't think anything he told the Death Eaters was exactly false, though, was it? – EJS Mar 20 '17 at 3:19
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    No, not false, just incomplete in key details. That way nobody could ever prove that Snape misled the Death Eaters. – Doug R. Mar 20 '17 at 3:34
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Snape didn't plant the idea of moving Harry early. That was already the Order's plan, which Snape leaked to the Death Eaters on Dumbledore's advice:

"You will have to give Voldemort the correct date of Harry's departure from his aunt and uncle's," said Dumbledore. "Not to do so will raise suspicion, when Voldemort believes you so well informed. However, you must plant the idea of decoys; that, I think, ought to ensure Harry's safety."

Note that it was the idea of the decoys, not the timing of the move, that Snape was to plant.

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In addition to the other excellent answers, I'm going to add something that occurred to me after I posted this: the Order didn't know exactly how much the Death Eaters knew. They did plant the incorrect date on Dawlish, but they couldn't have known for sure whether Voldemort would take the bait. (That always struck me as a rather lame attempt on their part, actually). In fact, the Order did seem caught off guard by the whole incident (in spite of Mad-Eye Moody's notorious paranoia).

Snape was in the position of having inside information about both the Order and the Death Eaters, so he would've known that they eventually probably would've found out some other way anyway.

Also, giving correct information allowed him to maintain his cover (as others have already pointed out).

  • How would Snape know inside information about order? He had already been unmasked as Dumbeldore's killer by Harry. – RedBaron Mar 20 '17 at 7:10
  • @RedBaron2 Information he had before, plus information he was able to glean from Mundungus et. al. – EJS Mar 20 '17 at 9:54

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