Annie Machon, 46, is a former spy, who worked for MI5 for five years before spending two years on the run with her then-partner David Shayler, after blowing the whistle on alleged criminal activity in the intelligence services…
Before I joined MI5, I’d never dreamt of becoming a spy. I’d watched Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and thought, “God, who’d want to do that?”. It seemed such a dark, threatening world.
But in 1991, I nevertheless found myself recruited as an Intelligence Agent. The process was more mysterious and ‘Cold War’ back then. I’d got bored of my work in publishing so I applied for a job in the Foreign Office, after which I had a letter from the Ministry of Defence saying there might be other jobs I’d find more interesting, and could I ring this number.
I started to shake when I read it, it was a strange, instinctive reaction, but they seduced me somehow and I was asked to go to an unmarked building in central London, where I had a three-hour interview.