Annie Machon

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Annie Machon presenting at 30C3 in Hamburg, December 2013

Annie Machon (born 1968) is a former MI5 intelligence officer who left the Service at the same time as David Shayler, her partner at the time.

Early life and MI5[edit]

The daughter of a pilot turned Guernsey newspaper editor, Machon attended a private school and then read Classics at Girton College, Cambridge.[1][2] After her graduation, Machon began a career working for a minor publisher.[3]

In 1991, Machon sat a Foreign Office examination to become a diplomat, but was recruited by MI5 where she was posted to their counter-subversion department, officially known as 'F2'.[4]

It was there she met Shayler, two months after joining the service. Looking for left-wing subversives, she told Stuart Jeffries of The Guardian in 2000, they failed to locate any and began to become dispirited. They prepared summaries from files on anyone standing in the 1992 general election, but both came to feel it was inappropriate work.[5]

She then spent two years working in 'T' Branch, investigating Irish terrorism, before being re-posted to the international counter-terrorist division, known as 'G Branch'.[citation needed]

Resignation and claims[edit]

In 1997, Machon and Shayler resigned from the service.[1] Intending to blow the whistle on a series of alleged crimes committed by the service, the couple took classified documents to The Mail on Sunday; the first story published on the penultimate Sunday of August 1997 concerned Peter Mandelson, whose telephone had been bugged for three years in the early 1970s. A court injunction prevented claims about what the security services knew about the IRA from being revealed.[6] The couple claimed the British government had been involved in an assassination attempt against Colonel Gaddafi and that the security services had foreknowledge of the 1994 London Israeli Embassy bombing and the IRA's City of London bombing.[1]

After they resigned, Shayler and Machon lived in rural France for a time, later living in Paris.[1] Machon briefly returned to London in March 2000 to deliver documents from Shayler to the Metropolitan Police on the 1996 attempt against Gaddafi's life reputedly known about in Britain before the event.[7] The couple returned to the UK in August 2000.[8]

Shayler was imprisoned for six months in November 2002 for offences contravening the Official Secrets Act. The trial judge said he should thank Machon for helping to quash the claim in her evidence that he had copied secret documents to begin a career in journalism.[9] Machon did not face any criminal action herself.[6]

Later activities[edit]

Annie Machon at 30C3 in Hamburg in December 2013

In late 2006, Machon ended her relationship with Shayler.[10] The home of Machon and Shayler in Highgate, London was the base of the British and Irish 9/11 Truth Campaign, founded in January 2004, which believed the September 11 attacks were an "inside job" arranged by a "shadowy elite" of American agencies and others.[11] Machon has continued to identify with the 9/11 Truth movement. In May 2013, she was removed from a forthcoming United Nations panel discussion in New York City on 6 June 2013 after a complaint from B'nai B'rith International.[12][13] In 2015, she told The Sunday Times some issues related to 9/11 remained unresolved: "Dirty tricks certainly happen and one should always keep an open mind".[14] In her first book, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers (2005), Machon suggested the death of Diana, Princess of Wales had been organised by the security services.[15][16]


  • Machon, A. (2005). Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5 and the David Shayler Affair. Book Guild Ltd.; ISBN 1-85776-952-X


  1. ^ a b c d Dickson, E. Jane (23 January 1999). "Point of No Return: David Shayler". The Independent. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  2. ^ Durrant, Sabine (3 April 2000). "No place to hide". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  3. ^ Thomas, Gordon (2009). "Inside British Intelligence: 100 Years of MI5 and MI6". JR Books. p. 209.
  4. ^ Machon, Annie (29 August 2010). "Annie Machon: my so-called life as a spy". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  5. ^ Jeffries, Stuart (15 November 2002). "The spy who loved me". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b Freeman, Sarah (9 February 2017). "Annie Machon: Forget Hollywood, being a whistleblower is hard work". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  7. ^ Bright, Martin; Barnett, Anthony (26 March 2000). "MI6 'plotters' face Yard probe". Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Shayler home to face the music". The Independent. 26 August 2000. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Shayler jailed for six months". The Guardian. 5 November 2002. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  10. ^ "MI5 whistleblower and his girl split up". London Evening Standard. 6 January 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  11. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (11 September 2006). "Meet the No Planers". New Statesman. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  12. ^ "9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Removed From UN Panel After B'nai B'rith Request". The Algemeiner. Jews News Syndicate ( 8 May 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  13. ^ "U.N. Says Conspiracy Theorist Will Not Appear On Panel At World Body, B'nai B'rith Had Urged Removal Of Annie Machon From Event Program". B'nai B'rith International. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  14. ^ Lyons, James; Grew, Tony (October 2015). "McDonnell linked to 9/11 myth merchants". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 13 March 2018. (subscription required)
  15. ^ Aaronovitvh, David (2010) [2009]. "Voodoo Histories: How Conspiracy Theory Has Shaped Modern History". London: Vintage. p. 145.
  16. ^ Adams, Guy (16 December 2006). "Diana: Just a car crash or a murder mystery?". The Independent. Retrieved 13 March 2018.

External links[edit]