Limited Hangout

I happened to come across a post by independent journalist Marcy Wheeler in which she argues that Ike Kaveladze’s missing suit was a limited hangout.

I hadn’t remembered the phrase—it’s an intelligence-community phrase, evidently, that became more-or-less well known when the Watergate conspirators suggested a modified limited hangout. You see, a limited hangout is when you let some of the truth hang out where people can see it. As I understand it, it’s used when a piece of the truth has already been discovered or is at great danger of being discovered, you find a way to hang out the right (limited) parts of the truth. A modified limited hangout is presumably when you hang out some limited, modified truth… modified to the extent that it isn’t truth at all anymore.

It’s a long post and I haven’t been following the details of the story. Ms. Wheeler is arguing that there was a limited hangout about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians, because enough people knew about it that there was no chance of keeping it secret, once the investigation started. I have seen the phrase used in relation to the investigation before—people do like making Nixon comparisons. I make ’em myself. And while there are more well-known ones (after the recent fraud case, I saw a lot of people using the quotation people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook, which I thought was nice, and I will always associated expletive deleted with the tapes, even now that we have the transcripts that don’t delete the expletives) I would like to see limited hangout and indeed modified limited hangout being one of those phrases that takes up permanent residence in the public conversation.


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