In the mid-1980s, the United States was embroiled in a complex political affair known as the Iran-Contra Affair. Despite a congressional ban, the Reagan administration attempted to fund anti-Sandinista rebels (Contras) in Nicaragua while also negotiating the release of American hostages held by Iranian-backed militants in Lebanon. Secret arms transactions to Iran were launched with the intention of funding the Contras’ anti-government insurgency.
After these actions were revealed to the public in 1986, there was an outcry and investigations were conducted. Concerns were raised regarding the reach and legitimacy of executive power when the investigation revealed secret activities conducted by National Security Council staff and administration officials.
Several government officials were found guilty of perjury, obstructing justice, and other offenses after the investigations that followed. This incident has shed light on the complexities of the ethical and legal considerations involved in making judgments about foreign policy. The Iran-Contra Affair was a watershed moment in American history because it brought to light the dangers of unrestrained covert operations and the delicate relationship between the executive, legislative, and judicial departments.