back to article Jackal novelist blames NSA for wife's laptop hack

Novelist Frederick Forsyth has accused heavy handed US cyber-spies of destroying his wife's computer in an attempt to tap into copy he was filling for the Daily Express from West Africa. The author of The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File made the bizarre claim during an recent interview with BBC TV programme Hardtalk. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Methinks he has been reading far too many Forsyth novels.. what, you mean he is FF?

    Good PR stunt for his new book though..

  2. Neil Lewis

    Ah, now I understand.......

    ...NSA = national security agency.

    I thought he meant that his wife was indulging in a little 'no strings attached' fun and it was that which ruined her lunch dates.

    Silly me ;-)

  3. NB


    Protip: Hardware failure is much more likely answer to this little episode and Forsythe comes across as an attention whore.

  4. Shell
    Big Brother


    And I suppose there was no chance at all that it is a Windows machine and it just randomly popped... as they do?

    I think he's been reading too many of his own books.

  5. Peter Simpson 1

    Never ascribe to malice...

    ...that which can be explained by incompetence.

  6. smudge
    Black Helicopters


    ...he really was filing copy for the Daily Express, and it really was the NSA, couldn't they just have waited a day or two and bought a copy? IIRC their budget should be able to stretch to that.

    But if they're really pushed for cash they could get someone to pinch a copy from a library.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Looking up

    Shows a lot more imagination that he's used in any of his books since the day of the Jackal & the Odessa File

  8. Charles Calthrop

    His Name is Charles Harold Calthrop

    Fantastic, fantastic first novel, (and a great film though absolutely RIDDLED with errors ) since then though it's been a steady decline though. Sounds like he's on the up if he's coming out with barmy rubbish like that. There's nothing like reading a po faced novel where "Genius computer hackers" double for Deus Ex Machina.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The NSA ate my homework

    Hey kids don't blame the family dog, let the NSA take the fall instead.

  10. GeorgeTuk

    NSA? Surely he meant CIA

    I find it hard to understand that the National Security Agency responsible to protecting internal US mechanisations would be interested in the on-going saga of a relatively small African nation.

    And I thought with all his "research" he would understand this, but then again like others have said he starting to believe what is written.

    Not impossible but highly implausible I say.

  11. kain preacher


    Is for spying on Americans and thing that go on in America. CIA is for spying out side of America.

    1. smudge
      Black Helicopters

      no, FBI

      NSA is for electronic gathering of information from all around the world, not just the USA.

      The FBI is for internal intelligence within the USA.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Saw him on TV this morning...

    .... and have to say, he sounded like he was completely barking mad.

    He's made so much money he actually lives in his own fantasy world.

  13. jake Silver badge

    First thing that popped into my mind:

    "The dog ate my homework! Honest!"

    Then I got to the penultimate paragraph ... :-)

  14. dshan

    Sorry About the Report Boss...

    The NSA ate my computer.

    Now why didn't I think of that?

  15. TimeMaster T


    Would this have happened if his wife's laptop had been running Linux?

    Mines the one with the Debian loaded netbook in the pocket.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Not available in my area...

    May I ask why? I am subscribed to the News package on my sat provider which has BBC World News (the only BBC channel they're carrying, after dropping the excellent BBC Entertainment which I rely on for my source of Red Dwarf and the good doctor). Hardtalk does air on BBC World News. So why can't I watch it?

    Troll. Because I'm well aware that iPlayer is region locked and am doing this just because I'm pissed off with not having anything anymore.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    And here I thought....

    NSA stood for Nooky - Salami - Affair

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. neil 15
    Black Helicopters

    Knowledgeable Author

    I went through a phase of reading his books a few years ago. In one he explained the great lengths that have to be done to successfully gain illicit entrance to computer systems. Unfortunately he had the most basic details wrong and showed that he really had no clue. IIRC it involved hiring a campervan to drive about so the IP could not be traced.. Was almost reaching Dan Brown levels of silliness.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    computer destroyed

    by secret guerilla book reviewers

  21. PerfectBlue

    Reality check

    Let's take a brief reality check.

    It's an open secret that the FBI, CIA, NSA and a whole load of other agencies have been spying on people like Forsyth since the day that they were founded.

    It's not new, it's not secret, and it's most certainly not surprising. Agencies have spied on everybody from foreign ambasadors to the Beatles. The only part of this story that is surprising would be the idea that they'd botched the hack. They'd usually be in and out without being noticed.

    This story could well be 100% true. The feds spying on the wife of a dissident author who's in the midst of a delicate political situation in an unstable yet stragetically important country. The feds and/or the Pentagon does this kind of thing on a daily basis.

    It's already been proved that the NSA has done a lot worse. Remember back in 2003 when they were found to have bugged meetings at the UN.

    Hacking a laptop is nothing compared to that.

  22. Jacqui

    outsourced to india

    NSA outsources hacking to indians - a couple of journo's laptops go foomf.

    Seriously if he is a regular traveller and takes a hard drive through the UK/US X ray machines then he should know you are talking about maybe 20+ trips before drive failure. When I worked at cray, machines would die between 20 and 40 trips. Given much higher platter and chip densities (and the same crappy machines in airports), 20 rather than 40 is probably the correct limit.

    Putting on my black jacket with "plausible deniability" in FBI dayglo.

    1. El Richard Thomas


      How the fuck do you get one of those through the scanner? Let alone inside a bag small enough to be used as hand luggage?

  23. Graham Bartlett

    Reason for loss of laptop

    "How do I delete my browser history? No, really, it's important! I need to get it done before my husband gets back, otherwise our marriage is over!! I can't let him see *those* sites!! What do you mean, you don't know?! Oh, whatever..." <smash>

    <ring> "Hello darling? Yes, the NSA just hacked into my laptop and broke it."

  24. Anonymous Coward

    It couldn't have happened...

    to the wife of a nicer guy.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    the old joke...

    That if you want to go to work for the NSA, simply call your grandmother and ask for an application.

    I used to think that it was I think it's hilarious.

  26. Mike Richards

    Don't believe a word of it...

    ...are we meant to believe he was writing a story for the Daily Express that didn't involve immigrants or Princess Diana?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most of the accusations in the article aren't in the iplayer programme..., either the NSA lent on the beeb, and got the 'revelations' removed. OR the editors of the programme thought they where bonkers, and removed them, and the source of this story then comes form Forsyth's publicity machine.

    Seriously though, his accusation that all phone calls and e-mails are monitored by the NSA. For someone who supposedly prides himself on authenticity, he really should know how impossible that is (or at least use PGP!)

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