Limited hangout

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A limited hangout is a propaganda technique of displaying a subset of the available information. It misdirects an incautious audience, because information needs a context for correct interpretation. Subtly omitting information changes the interpretation of the surrounding information. Th commercially-controlled media is a form of limited hangout, although since they also modify information, Modified limited hangout may be a more appropriate term.

Concept.png Limited hangout Glossary.png 
(propaganda technique,  tradecraft,  deep statecraft)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Edward-snowden nope.jpg
A limited hangout is a propaganda technique, which works because information needs a context for correct interpretation. Subtly changing or omitting information changes the interpretation of the surrounding information.
Interest ofRichard Nixon
A propaganda technique to try to suppress the revelation of secret information.

A limited hangout is the deliberate revelation of some information (e.g. about malfeasance) to try to confuse and/or prevent discovery of other information. A modified limited hangout goes further, by slightly changing the information disclosed.


In 2015, The Guardian published a carefully cropped photo of Andrew Windsor, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell

By presenting some true and useful information, a source may gain credibility, which can be put to use later, if a credible source is desired to disseminate disinformation. Another points is that by presenting information, an audience may be desensitized to an otherwise engaging or shocking topic. If more information later emerges, the audience may feel "this is nothing new" (as the commercially-controlled media said about Gary Webb's minutely documented case that the CIA was engaged in the illegal drug business).

Selection of information

The more valuable the information that is "hung out", the more an audience may be disposed to confer credibility on a source. It is easy to see how a subset of information can be chosen that makes it hard to guess the remainder - for example, if it is atypical or otherwise misleading.


Full article: Wikileaks

A reminder that it is always wise to at least keep open the possibility of a limited hangout is Wikileaks. Julian Assange was quoted in July 2010 as stating that "I'm constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11, when all around we provide evidence of real conspiracies, for war or mass financial fraud."[1] It seems unlikely that he could miss such an obvious false flag.

In 2009, Wikileaks leaked a huge set of pager messages for the day of 9/11 - which one might suspect would prove interesting, but which in practice has proven to be of relatively little interest. They freely admit that "it's impossible to tell whether the logs have been faithfully reproduced in their entirety".[2] If the set of messages was purged before being posted, then this corresponds to a limited hangout. If false messages were inserted, this makes it a modified limited hangout. Webster Tarpley maintains a high level of suspicion of the commercially-controlled media and has voiced skepticism early about stories they promote. He suggests that examples of Modified limited hangout include:

Panama Papers

Full article: Panama Papers

Described by Edward Snowden as the "biggest leak in the history of data journalism", the Panama Papers was the April 2016 release of over 2½TB of data, apparently created by the Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca - detailing >200,000 offshore companies, including the identities of shareholders and directors. This has a highly skewed distribution of people and nations[citation needed] (barely any from the US) suggesting that it might be a partisan limited hangout.

Modified limited hangout

In a March 22, 1973 meeting between Richard Nixon, John Dean, John Ehrlichman, John Mitchell, and H.R. Haldeman, Ehrlichman incorporated the term into a new and related one, "modified limited hangout."[3][4] The phrase was coined in the following exchange:[5]

PRESIDENT: You think, you think we want to, want to go this route now? And the — let it hang out, so to speak?

DEAN: Well, it's, it isn't really that --
HALDEMAN: It's a limited hang out.
DEAN: It's a limited hang out.
EHRLICHMAN: It's a modified limited hang out.
PRESIDENT: Well, it's only the questions of the thing hanging out publicly or privately.

Before this exchange, the discussion captures Nixon outlining to Dean the content of a report that Dean would create, laying out a misleading view of the role of the White House staff in events surrounding the Watergate coup. In Ehrlichman's words: "And the report says, 'Nobody was involved,'". The document would then be shared with the Senate Watergate Committee investigating the affair. The report would serve the administration's goals by protecting the President, providing documentary support for his false statements should information come to light that contradicted his stated position. Further, the group discusses having information on the report leaked by those on the Committee sympathetic to the President, to put exculpatory information into the public sphere.

The phrase has been cited as a summation of the strategy of mixing partial admissions with misinformation and resistance to further investigation, and is used in political commentary to accuse people or groups of following a Nixon-like strategy.[6]

Writing in the Washington Post, Mary McGrory described a statement by Pope John Paul II regarding sexual abuse by priests as a "modified, limited hangout".

Insertion of false information

If a batch of otherwise correct information contains purposely inserted falsehoods that later can be clearly shown to be incorrect by corporate media, this will muddle the waters and discredit the correct information as well.

Edward Snowden

Full article: Edward Snowden affair
Limited hangout face mask.jpg

Commentators such as Webster Tarpley have suggested that Edward Snowden may not in fact be the dissident voice that he claims, but in fact be part of a modified limited hangout operation to chill resistance and encourage people to self-censor.[7] As evidence he observes that Snowden's revelations:

  1. have not touched on deep events such as the JFK assassination or 9-11
  2. have been treated anomalously by the commercially-controlled media, as compared to evidence presented by other whistleblowers.[8][9]

John Young and Deborah Natsios of Cryptome, as well as Sibel Edmonds have also shown considerable skepticism about the Snowden affair.[10] [11]



Page nameDescription
Afghanistan PapersA set of documents published by The Washington Post which constitute an official opposition narrative that the invasion of Afghanistan was a mistake.
NieuwsuurA state-funded TV program that replaced several award-winning current affairs programs that were "too biased"...meaning not following the official narrative.
Panama PapersA huge (2.6TB) cache of confidential documents created by the Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca that provide detailed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies, including the identities of shareholders and directors. Those identified include numerous wealthy and powerful political figures and organisations of many countries.
Pandora Papers
Paradise PapersA set of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents about use of tax havens to house around $10 trillion. The highly skewed nature of the exposure (very little from the US) suggest it was a modified hangout
Pentagon Papers
Rockefeller CommissionA limited hangout to try to control revelations about the US deep state's exploitation of the CIA.
WikileaksInternationally famous leaks site that has published millions of classified and other documents.
Wikileaks/Vault 7Release of electronic surveillance and cyber warfare tools from the CIA arsenal.


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:How to identify CIA limited hangout operationarticle18 June 2013Webster TarpleyCiting the Pentagon Papers as an example, Tarpley suggests that both Wikileaks and the Snowden affair are limited hangout operations by the CIA.