, ,

Yep, the inside job. This option of getting a passport (in crime fiction at least) was suggested to Frederick Forsyth during his research for The Day of the Jackal by a professional forger: simply bribe an official for a passport “en blanc” and fill in your details.

That was for a setting of 1962-63. Passports are a little more complicated than that nowadays, requiring a lot more than just a good black biro and a pot of glue…

Yet this particular route in your crime fiction is quite plausible. It happens in real life.

For example:

  • Back in the 1980s the chief passport officer at the Irish embassy in London provided falsified passports in return for cash (up to $24k per passport) and sex
  • More recently, there was a police investigation into strange goings on at two Passport Offices in Dublin
  • Irish passports – false or fraudulent – pop up regularly in real-life intelligence debacles; one such was the Iran-Contra scandal – Oliver North (aka “John Clancy”) and his fellow operatives used false Irish passports to visit Iran

Irish passports were also used by members the assassination team who killed Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai in January 2010. According to official Irish sources:

The investigation by the Passport Service Office has confirmed that the eight Irish passports used by suspects in the murder of Mahmoud al Mabhouh were forgeries. In contrast to the UK and Australian cases, which involved identity theft in relation to nationals of both countries, those responsible for the forgery of the Irish passports sought to replicate potential valid Irish passport information, with six of the eight fake passports using the numbers of existing Irish passport holders, while the two remaining passports used numbers conforming to Irish passport number format, although valid passports carrying these numbers were never actually issued.

This official investigation reached “the inescapable conclusion that an Israeli government agency was responsible for the misuse and, most likely, the manufacture of the forged Irish passports”. An Israeli embassy official was sent packing.

So find a staff member in either an Irish embassy or – in this case – an Israeli one. Alternatively…

Do a deal with the Irish government…

If you are filthy rich you can simply buy an Irish passport from the Irish government. They used to issue passports to major investors from overseas, though nowadays it’s more likely a five-year visa.

Ireland’s “Passports for investment scheme” ran from 1988 to 1998, with 143 passports issued under the scheme. Applicants included members of the Getty family, Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz and Khalid Sabih Masri.

Or get an emergency travel document…

This video shows an example of UK documentation – an “emergency passport” that meets the standards of the international civil aviation authorities – and the various types of processing centre involved…