Early one morning in March 1985, as he climbed the six steps of Margaret Thatcher’s prime-ministerial jet on the runway of RAF Aldergrove, little did Willie Carlin know the role Freddie Scappaticci played in saving his life.
So began the dramatic extraction of Margaret Thatcher’s key undercover agent in Sinn Fein – Willie Carlin, aka Agent 3007. For 11 years the former British soldier worked alongside former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in the republican movement’s political wing in Derry. He was MI5’s man at McGuinness’ side and gave the British State unprecedented insight into the IRA leader’s strategic thinking. Carlin worked with McGuinness to develop Sinn Fein’s election strategy after the 1981 hunger strike, and the MI5 and later FRU agent’s reports on McGuinness, Adams and other republicans were read by the British Cabinet, including Margaret Thatcher herself.
When Carlin’s cover was blown in mid-1985 thanks to one of his old MI5 handlers being jailed as a Soviet spy, Thatcher authorised the use of her jet to whisk him to safety. Incredibly, it was another British ‘super spy’ inside the IRA’s secretive counter-intelligence unit, the ‘nuttin’ squad’, who saved Carlin’s life. The Derry man is perhaps the only person alive thanks to the information provided by the ‘jewel in the crown’ of British military intelligence – Freddie Scappaticci aka "Stakeknife .
In Thatcher’s Spy, the Cold War meets Northern Ireland’s Dirty War in the remarkable real-life story of a deep under-cover British intelligence agent, a man now doomed forever to look over his shoulder. . .
About the Author
Willie Carlin was born and raised in Derry. Joining the British Army in 1965, he was recruited by MI5 in 1974 (and later the Force Research Unit), to infiltrate Sinn Féin. Over the next 11 years, he built up close contacts with Martin McGuinness and Mitchel McLaughlin, becoming one of Britain’s most valuable long-term agents in Northern Ireland. However, as his own republican commitment increased, he began withholding information from MI5. His cover blown by his unstable handler in 1985, Carlin was told that the IRA was on its way to kill him and, an hour later, he and his family were extracted from Northern Ireland on Margaret Thatcher's private jet.
"Carlin’s story leaves the reader with a sense of the tragedy of those times and of the ways in which humanity, peace and the common bonds of community were betrayed against again and again, in political, physical and spiritual terms." —Becky Long, The Irish Times
"An indepth interview with the author exploring his past and the publication of his controversial memoir." —Irish Independent
"An interview with Legal affairs correspondent Owen Bowcott about how British intelligence officers welcomed the collapse of one of the most notorious IRA “supergrass” trials of the Troubles." —The Guardian
"Carlin’s story leaves the reader with a sense of the tragedy of those times and of the ways in which humanity, peace and the common bonds of community were betrayed against again and again, in political, physical and spiritual terms." —Irish Times