Writer Forsyth did spy missions for MI6

LONDON • British thriller writer Frederick Forsyth revealed he had conducted missions for intelligence service MI6 in extracts from his autobiography published on Sunday.

Forsyth, whose bestsellers include The Day Of The Jackal, told of how he had assisted Britain's overseas spying agency in the Nigerian region of Biafra, East Germany, Rhodesia and South Africa.

While working as a journalist in 1968, he was approached by an MI6 man called "Ronnie" who wanted "an asset deep inside the Biafran enclave", where there was a civil war between 1967 and 1970.

"When I left for the return to the rainforest, he had one," Forsyth wrote in his memoirs, The Outsider, extracts of which were published by The Sunday Times ahead of its publication next month.

While he was there, he reported on the military and humanitarian situation while keeping "Ronnie informed of things that could not, for various reasons, emerge in the media".

In 1973, he was asked to conduct a mission for MI6 in communist East Germany. "Their proposal was simple. There was an asset, a Russian colonel, working for us deep inside East Germany and he had a package that we needed brought out," he wrote. He said he drove his Triumph convertible to Dresden and received the package from the Russian colonel in the toilets of the Albertinum museum.

In Rhodesia in the 1970s, he was asked to gauge the intentions of the then government while in the 1980s, he was asked to find out what the government planned to do with its nuclear weapons in the post-apartheid transfer of power to the African National Congress .

In return for his missions, he added that members of MI6 helped him with research for his books. "I had a number to ring. I would have a lunch at the club, I'd ask, is it OK?" he wrote. "They would check with their superiors."

Forsyth, 77, has written more than 20 novels and sold more than 70 million books worldwide.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2015, with the headline 'Writer Forsyth did spy missions for MI6'. Print Edition | Subscribe