‘… his tight-knight circle of recruiters and terror-plot instigators did not respond to questions yesterday’.

Excerpt from an article in The Australian concerning the circumstances of a (named) Islamic State Recruiter.

As I see it, there are three possible explanations/interpretations of this descriptive phrase.

  1. A tight-knight circle could be:
    a gathering of people who have been honoured by the state and who get together to overindulge on alcohol.
  2. a gathering of people who have been honoured by the state and who stand or sit close together in a circle. The presence of the hyphen suggests that they are also overindulging in alcohol.

Neither of these seem likely. That leaves

  1. a journalist’s attempt at describing the close links within a group of people. Tight-knit would have been better.

Source: Digital version of The Australian newspaper, February 1, 2016.