The ultimate dilemma, which Andre Chernier captured so perfectly in his comment on the revolutionary politics of 18th-Century France, is the effect of very high stakes. A run-of-the mill political scandal can safely be exposed without affecting anyone other than the culprits and their immediate circle. A covert political coup, however, like the one engineered by Casey in 1980, challenges the legitimacy of the political order; it deliberately exploits weaknesses in the political immune system and risks infecting the entire organism of state and society. Such a virus of secrecy and subterfuge would permeate the Reagan Administration and would culminate in the Iran-Contra Affair, the contours of which bore an uncanny resemblance to Casey's 1980 deal to swap arms for hostages. One of the more puzzling aspects of the Iran-Contra affair was the Reagan Administration's dogged pursuit of a deal in the face of repeated Iranian demands. Yet Reagan's men refused to take no for an answer. The reason now seems plain: The same parties had cut a deal once before.