London: Writer Frederick Forsyth, known for his spy novels, has said he worked for British intelligence service MI6 for more than 20 years.
Forsyth, author of bestsellers like ‘The Day of the Jackal’ (1971), ‘The Odessa File’ (1972), ‘The Dogs of War’ (1974) and ‘The Fourth Protocol’ (1984), said he worked for MI6 for a number of years and in different places, including in East Germany during the Cold War in 1973.
"It was normally a phone call: 'can we meet - why don't you join us for lunch? We have a little problem'," Forsyth told Sky News.
The 77-year-old Forsyth, who has sold about 70 million books, said one of his missions involved bringing back a package for MI6 from a Soviet colonel in 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 said.
The author and former journalist said the mission came close to failing when East German police stopped him on the border with Bavaria as he was smuggling the documents into the former West Germany.
Forsyth said he decided to reveal his work for MI6 because so much time had passed and both East Germany and the KGB no longer existed.
The revelations come ahead of the release of Forsyth's autobiography, titled ‘The Outsider: My Life’.
The author said his work for MI6 started with the 1967-1970 Biafran War in Nigeria, where he was working as a journalist.
Forsyth said he was approached by an MI6 officer, who asked him to "tell us what's going on" in Biafra, a secessionist state in southeastern Nigeria.
Forsyth said his relationship with MI6 was so close that the intelligence service reviewed and approved passages from his novels to avoid revealing compromising information about operations.
"I had a number I could ring ... I'd ask, 'Is it OK?' They would check with superiors," the author said.
Forsyth said he was not paid for his intelligence work.
"Back then a lot of volunteers did things for the old country - it wasn't regarded as weird," Forsyth said. "There was no fee, no reward, you just do it. It was a different attitude back then."