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One-Line Bio

Formerly MI5, cur­rently using my intelligence.


Annie Machon is a former intel­li­gence officer for MI5, the UK Secur­ity Ser­vice, who resigned in the late 1990s to help blow the whistle on the spies’ incom­pet­ence and crimes.

Draw­ing on her var­ied exper­i­ences, she is now a pub­lic speak­er, writer, media pun­dit, and polit­ic­al cam­paign­er. She has a rare per­spect­ive both on the inner work­ings of gov­ern­ments, intel­li­gence agen­cies, the media, and digit­al rights, as well as the wider implic­a­tions for the need for increased open­ness and account­ab­il­ity in both pub­lic and private sectors.

She is also a recog­nised inter­na­tion­al pub­lic speak­er on a vari­ety of issues: 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, the ongo­ing Middle East crises, “Rus­siagate”, total­it­ari­an­ism and police states, account­ab­il­ity in gov­ern­ment and busi­ness, as well as dis­cuss­ing 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 front line of the failed “war on drugs” policy, recog­nise this abject fail­ure, and as a res­ult cam­paign for an end to drug prohibition.

In this role she kick-star­ted 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 organ­ising com­mit­tee of the Sam Adams Asso­ci­ates for Integ­rity in Intel­li­gence, a found­ing mem­ber of the Glob­al Coun­cil of the Good Tech­no­logy Col­lect­ive, as well as a mem­ber of Vet­er­ans for Peace UK and the Cam­paign for Press and Broad­cast­ing Free­dom.

She 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.

She has also giv­en evid­ence to both the the European Par­lia­ment and the UK Par­lia­ment about sur­veil­lance in the wake of the Snowden disclosures.

She has an MA (Hons) in Clas­sics from Cam­bridge University.


Machon, A. (2005). Spies, Lies and Whis­tleblowers: MI5 and the Dav­id Shayler Affair
Book Guild Ltd. ISBN-10: 185776952X


Good books, good con­ver­sa­tion, good wine, and people with ideas, intel­li­gence and integrity.