Annie Machon is a former MI5 intelligence officer, media pundit, international public speaker and writer. She is frequently seen on domestic and international television news channels.
In addition she is a writer and political campaigner with a rare perspective on the inner workings of governments, intelligence agencies and the media. As well as a profound respect for all things geek Annie is passionate about the need to protect digital freedoms.
In early 2017 Annie was invited to submit a written statement during the government led initiative consultation of the Law Commission’s review of the Official Secrets Act (OSA). This is designed to treat whistleblowers, journalists and publishers as traitors, facing a 14 jail sentence, up two years on the 1898 OSA.
Indeed, Annie was an intelligence officer for MI5, the UK Security Service, before resigning to help her former partner and colleague David Shayler, blow the whistle on the crimes, incompetence and lack of accountability of the spies. The story made headlines around the world in the late 1990s. They had to go on the run around Europe, face arrest and prison, and live in exile in France for 3 years.
From 2012 to 2016 Annie 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 the end to drug prohibition. In the role she helped initiate 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.
Annie is proud to be on the organising 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 & 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 European Parliament and the UK Parliament about surveillance in the wake of the Snowden disclosures.
Annie has an MA (Hons) in Classics from Cambridge University and is an international public speaker and lecturer, and has delivered keynote speeches at conferences and universities around the world on a variety of issues.