On November 3, 1986, an Iranian journalist writing for a Lebanese magazine reported that United States government officials were facilitating arms sales to Iran. This exposed the so-called “Iran-Contra Affair,” the biggest political scandal of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.The sales to Iran were illegal, as the U.S. had an arms embargo against Iran. American participants in the Iran-Contra Affair thought the covert relationship with Iran would result in two outcomes. First, supporters hoped profits from the arms sales would fund training and equipment for anti-government rebels (the Contras) in Nicaragua. (This would also be illegal, as Congress had limited support for the Contras.) Second, supporters hoped Iran would use its influence to secure the release of American hostages held by terrorists in Lebanon.After exposure of the Iran-Contra Affair, government officials and businessmen, including members of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), and the Reagan cabinet, were indicted. Two members of the NSA were convicted of felonies, although all convictions were overturned.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry arms Plural Noun
group of high-ranking government officials, usually top advisers to a president or monarch.
(Central Intelligence Agency) U.S. government agency whose mission is to "preempt threats and further U.S. national security objectives by collecting intelligence that matters, producing objective all-source analysis, conducting effective covert action as directed by the president, and safeguarding the secrets that help keep our nation safe."
legislative branch of the government, responsible for making laws. The U.S. Congress has two bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate.
to find someone guilty of an illegal act.
secret or disguised.
to outlaw trade of a certain good or service, or to outlaw trade from a certain place.
tools and materials to perform a task or function.
to help or make easier.
serious crime with punishment including imprisonment or death.
to give money to a program or project.
system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.
person held as security until certain terms and conditions (such as payment of a ransom) are met.
forbidden by law.
to bring formal charges against.
force that effects the actions, behavior, or policies of others.
person who reports and distributes news.
National Security Agency (NSA) Noun
federal agency whose mission is to "lead the U.S. Government in cryptology that encompasses both Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Information Assurance (IA) products and services, and enable Computer Network Operations (CNO) in order to gain a decision advantage for the Nation and our allies under all circumstances."
having to do with public policy, government, administration, or elected office.
money earned after production costs and taxes are subtracted.
rebel noun, adjective
person who resists the authority of government.
to free or let go.
to guarantee, or make safe and certain.
having to do with the use of non-military violence and/or threats of violence to achieve or advocate political change.
to gain skill through discipline and practice.