Annie Machon is a former British Security Service (MI5) intelligence officer, who resigned MI5 in 1996 at the same time as David Shayler, a British journalist and former MI5 officer, who was Machon’s partner at the time. Both left MI5 so they could blow the whistle about the ‘incompetence and crimes’ committed by the British Security Service. The couple’s exploits meant not only did they have to give up their careers, but they also had to go on the run, living in hiding for an entire year, and then spending several years in exile in Paris. The highly controversial and defamatory claims Annie Machon made against MI5 earned her notoriety, notoriety which was, some might say, “lapped up” by the former British intelligence officer. In addition to writing the book, “Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 and the Shayler Affair”, which makes serious allegations about Britain’s intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, Machon has also relished a varied post-MI5 career as a journalist, intelligence expert, political campaigner, media trainer, PR consultant and an international tour and event organiser. Not exactly the life one might expect of someone supposedly “on the run” from MI5. Since she is such an astute self-promoter, it was not very difficult to prize an interview from Ms. Machon, who talked exclusively to TSW about the lies, the scandals, and the illegal and reckless plots the former intelligence agent so vehemently pins on MI5. In this interview, Annie provides us with an interesting perspective on how the corrupt, scandalous and highly publicised British phone hacking scandal is simply a “trickle down” of the corruption on the part of spies and police in the UK, who, as Annie Machon puts it, “huddle behind the protective phrase of ‘national security’”
How World War II was eventually won has many versions, depending who you listen to. If you listen to the US, they won it all by themselves, without any help from any other countries (and slanderous Hollywood movies such as U-571 reinforce this shocking myth). Then again, some Brits would have you believe we beat Jerry with only some good old British stiff upper-lip, a good spanking with a cricket bat and an endless amount of tea. But I firmly believe that the war would have stretched much longer than 6 years, and the Allied invasion of France would have been a bloodbath, if it hadn’t been for a small secret committee inside British Military Intelligence (MI5), called the XX Committee (Double-Cross). Highly classified for years after 1945, the work of the Twenty Committee (20 – XX – Double Cross – get it?) was eventually revealed to show how many military lives they ended up saving by ending the war when they did.
MI5 Agent Daniel Houghton was sentenced on September 3, 2010 to 12 months in prison for stealing top secret information from MI5 computer systems and attempting to sell the data to the Dutch Secret Service. On its surface, the story is rather humorous, but there is an underlying theme that could be a sign of the times related to how the economy can affect the danger of espionage that nations around the world face. The particular danger exists in western countries where employment continues to sag and salaries or benefits are constantly getting cut. Technically, Danial Houghton was not a “secret agent.” He was a software engineer for the MI5. He was earning an annual salary of $37,000 Cdn – and seeking to sell top secret classified information about his colleagues in the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) for $3.2 million Cdn. You do the math.