Law enforcement agencies engage in covert actions to advance the interests of their countries. In effect, these agencies engaged in activities that had legal implications with the risks far outweighing the benefits once the activities become public. No single country in the world, has shaped the destiny of most nations in the world like the US. Through the CIA, the US has been able to engage in covert activities that advance the interests of the country. Two different incidents attest to the CIA’ s involvement in covert action. In the Iran Contra affair, the CIA engaged in covert action to sell arms to Iran, which was contrary to US’ s labeling of the regime as a state sponsor of terrorism.
In effect, the US could use the funds to support Contras, a rebel group in Nicaragua that was fighting the anti-communist government in Nicaragua. On the other hand, the CIA funneled funds in covert action to enable opposition politicians capture and assassinate Patrice Lumumba, the Congolese prime minister in what many consider as the US’ fight against communism. Despite the two incidents occurring under different US presidents, they had the same objective with the repercussion reverberating to this day. In the Iran Contra affair, the Reagan administration sought to achieve two objectives in worlds apart.
The first objective was to secure the release of US hostages held in Lebanon by selling arms to Iran, which was engaged in a war with Iraq. Secondly, the administration, through the CIA, sought to channel the funds from the arms sold to Iran to fund the Contras who were a rebel group fighting the communist government of Nicaragua (Hatton, 1993).
In Congo, President Eisenhower allegedly ordered for the murder of Patrice thought to be propagating the communism agenda in Africa, which was against American interests (Blum, 2003). In the Iran Contra affair, Attorney General Edwin Meese developed a legal tactic that made the congress and the public focus on the diversion of arms. In effect, this tactic helped divert attention from the CIA, and President Reagan’ s, approach of helping terrorists against the national policy (Byrne, Kornbluh, & Blanton, 2004). In addition, the plan involved using Israel as a proxy to sell the arms in order to avoid legal ramifications (Klobuchar, Carter, & Kesselring, 2008).
Conversely, there was an oversight when funding the assassination of the prime minister. In this regard, the CIA did not recognize the fact of the prime minister’ s overwhelming support from the Congolese, and that he was not propagating communism in Africa (Blum, 2003; De Witte, 2001). In the Iran Contra affair, the then National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane took an active role in ensuring the successful sale of arms to Iran through Israel. Hence, the National Security Council and the CIA took an active role to ensure the success of this operation, which was due to the president’ s involvement in the affair.
The only opposition from the affair was from the Secretaries of Defense and State (Congressional Report, 1987). Conversely, the CIA was responsible for the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. In fact, there was an earlier attempt by the CIA to murder the prime minister while using a virus intended to kill the president (Blum, 2003). Importantly, there were no turf wars regarding the two operations. Financial resources played an important role in ensuring the success of these two operations.
However, the Iran Contra affair required dealing arms with one group to secure the funds meant to fund the activities of another group. In addition, the US required a friendly nation, which was Israel, to sell arms to the Iranians in order to avoid any legal implications by selling arms from the US (Marshall, Scott, & Hunter, 1987). On the other hand, the CIA operation in Congo required financing the opposition politicians to arrest the prime minister and assassinate him (Blum, 2003). The US secured the release of the hostages held in Lebanon during the Iran Contra affair.
However, the affair led to a scandal that had legal and political implications on one of the highly regarded presidents in American history. In this case, the president risked an impeachment due to his commissioning of the US’ direct involvement with terrorists. Nonetheless, a well-crafted move by his advisors and aides ensured that the president's link to the diversion of funds lacked evidence (“ The Iran Contra Affair, ” n.d. ).
Conversely, the CIA succeeded in the assassination and removal of Patrice Lumumba despite the lack of evidence to show the involvement of the US in the assassination of the Prime Minister (Kettle, 2000). In addition, the US was capable of keeping the operation a secret since it risked opposition from its citizens for working to assassinate a legally elected prime minister. Briefly, the Iran Contra affair succeeded in securing the release of the hostages while selling arms to Iran in order to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. However, the repercussions still reverberate today due to the consequences of the affair.
In line with this, a number of lives were lost, and the president broke the country’ s laws. In addition, the affair provided arms to a regime that continues to sponsor terrorism to date. On the other hand, the CIA achieved its objective of removing the Congolese prime minister from power but installed a Western puppet who became one of the worst dictators that the world has witnessed to date.
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