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NSA Historical Figures

Edward M. Drake

2019 Hall of Honor Inductee

Edward Drake was the principal architect of Canadian SIGINT both in wartime and peacetime. He was a major force in the wartime Examination Unit, and became Director of Canada’s first permanent civilian SIGINT organization, the Communications Branch of the National Research Council (CBNRC).

He established bonds of trust with US SIGINTers even before the United States entered WWII. Through these ties, Drake provided key intelligence to expose Nazi activities in the Americas.

In recognition of his SIGINT support to Allied operations, Drake received the US Legion of Merit in 1946. The citation reads: “Colonel Drake’s exemplary spirit of international cooperation in an extremely… specialized field was an exceptionally meritorious contribution to successful prosecution of the war.”

After the war, Drake’s international stature was a major factor in Canada’s decision to establish the CBRNC.  In this role, he spearheaded Canada-based programs that provided crucial intelligence for North America against Soviet threats.

When Edward Drake died in 1971, he left an enduring legacy in the worldwide intelligence community. Canada’s Communications Security Establishment was built and continues to operate on this foundation.