Former CIA Agent: U.S. Assisted in the Capture of Nelson Mandela

A CIA agent played a key role in helping South Africa’s apartheid government arrest Nelson Mandela in 1962, initiating the anti-apartheid leader's nearly 28-year incarceration, a new report in the Sunday Times reveals.


The former CIA spy Donald Rickard admitted the U.S. role in a taped interview with filmmaker John Irvin in March, according to reporter Ivan Fallon. Irvin’s film focuses on the months leading up to Mandela’s arrest.

Rickard, who died weeks after the interview, stated, “I found out when he was coming down and how he was coming... that's where I was involved and that's where Mandela was caught.”

He appeared unapologetic, employing Cold War language to argue that the arrest had to take place because Mandela was “the most dangerous communist” outside of the Soviet Union.

While a CIA tip-off has long been suspected, Rickard denied such a role as recently as 2012.

Mandla Mandela, the late Nelson Mandela’s oldest grandson and a current African National Congress member of parliament, called on President Barack Obama to fully disclose the details of the elder Mandela’s arrest.

“Whilst we were always aware of the West’s role in overt and covert support for the Apartheid state (this) disclosure has put an end to decades of denial revealing the fact that the USA put its imperial interests above the struggle for liberation of millions of people,” Mandela told The Telegraph.

South Africa's first Black president, Mandela was on the U.S. terrorism watch list until as recently as 2008.

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