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Author Frederick Forsyth was a spy
30 Aug 2015 19:07
The Day of the Jackal author Frederick Forsyth has revealed that he worked for British intelligence agency MI6 for more than 20 years.
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Forsyth's spy novels are noted for their realism, and the confirmation of his involvement with MI6 comes with the publication of the author's autobiography The Outsider: My Life.
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Fans have long suspected that the 77-year-old was involved with British Intelligence, and he told the BBC it started when he was asked to send information from the Biafran War in Nigeria.
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He said he was approached by an intelligence officer who asked him to "tell us what's going on" during the civil war, which lasted from 1967 to 1970.
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"For the last year of the Biafran War I was sending . . . both journalistic reports to the media and other reports to my new friend," he said.
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"The Foreign Office was denying that there were any dying children and they were passionate in supporting the dictatorship in Lagos, and it was, oddly enough, MI6 that had a different viewpoint."
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Forsyth added that he saw "no harm" in confirming the truth that "children were dying like flies" in Biafra.
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"It was controversial . . . but not about the security of our country," he said, before noting that he was never paid for his work. "There was a lot of volunteer assistance that was not charged for," he said.
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"The zeitgeist was different . . . the Cold War was very much on. If someone asked 'Can you see your way clear to do us a favour?' It was very hard to say no."
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