Annie Machon, Former MI5 Intelligence Officer, Whistleblower, Data Activist
Annie Machon is a former MI5 intelligence officer, who resigned in the late 1990s to help blow the whistle on the spies’ incompetence and crimes with her former partner, David Shayler.
Drawing on her varied experiences, she is now a public speaker, writer, media pundit, and political campaigner. From 2012 to 2016, she also served as the European director of LEAP.
She has a rare perspective on the inner workings of governments, intelligence agencies and the media, as well as the wider implications for the need for increased openness and accountability in the public and private sectors.
Annie is also a recognized international public speaker on a variety of issues, such as security and intelligence, ethics and citizenship, the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on whistleblowers, Internet freedoms, press and media freedoms, secrecy legislation, civil liberties, totalitarianism and police states, and accountability in government and business, and also discusses her personal story of being “on the run.”
From 2012 to 2016, she was the European director of LEAP, a global group of serving and former police officers, lawyers, judges, intelligence officers, prison governors, customs officers, and former drug czars. LEAP speakers have worked on the frontline of the failed war on drugs policy, recognize this abject failure, and as a result campaign for an end to drug prohibition.
In this role, Annie kickstarted new national LEAP groups in the UK and Germany, has spoken in a number of European parliaments, international conferences, and festivals, met with government ministers, government advisers, and drug czars across Europe, represented LEAP four times at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs annual event in Vienna, and even appeared in the occasional film – most notably in The Culture High.
She is proud to be on the organizing committee of the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, as well as a member of Veterans for Peace UK and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom.
Annie is currently on the board of The Freedom Index Foundation, and also on the advisory board of the Courage Foundation, supporting key whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden.
Annie has an MA (Hons) in Classics from Cambridge University.
She read Classics at Cambridge University. In 1991, she was recruited by MI5, where she was posted to their political and counter-terrorism departments.