From the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1947 to the end of the cold war in 1992, the key objective of the agency was learning the intentions and capabilities of a hostile Soviet government. The American people, through Congress, granted to the CIA the resources and the secrecy it needed to take on this mission. Oversight was delegated to the executive and legislative branches. Although the CIA made mistakes which aroused intense controversy, a majority of Americans believed that the end of containing the Soviet Union justified the means of permitting a centralized intelligence agency to operate secretly in an open society. A small but vocal minority disagreed.