Robert Edwin Drake, 82; Served as Deputy Director of NSA

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Robert Edwin Drake, 82, an intelligence analyst who spent 28 years with the National Security Agency before retiring in 1980 after two years as deputy director, died Jan. 12 at his home in Annapolis. He had congestive heart failure.

Starting in 1949, Mr. Drake was a junior research analyst with the Naval Communications Station in Washington and the Armed Forces Security Agency before joining the new NSA in 1952.

He was an operations officer at the NSA's European headquarters from 1959 to 1962 and then returned to NSA headquarters to lead the signals intelligence policy branch on the director's staff.

He graduated from the National War College in 1964, and followed that with service as chief of the NSA's office in Southeast Asia and deputy chief of the NSA's Pacific headquarters in Hawaii.

In the 1970s, he was chief of the Soviet and East European analytic group and deputy director for operations.

After retirement, he did consulting work for the NSA, the director of central intelligence and the office of the independent counsel for Iran-Contra matters.

He also served on the board of BAE Systems North America and predecessor companies for a decade.

He was born in Northfield, Minn., and was an Army Air Forces B-24 pilot in the Pacific during World War II.

He was a 1948 honors graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received a master's degree in international affairs from George Washington University in 1965.

His honors included the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award of the intelligence community, as well as the NSA's meritorious and exceptional civilian service awards, the Defense Department Distinguished Civilian Service Award and the Central Intelligence Agency Distinguished Service Medal.

His wife of 56 years, Helen Suzanne Barstow "Sue" Drake, died in 2001.

Survivors include his wife of two years, MaryPage Mason Drake of Annapolis; four children from his first marriage, Robert E. Drake Jr. of Columbia, Alana Elgin of Poolesville, Christopher Drake of Fredericksburg and Dr. Pamela Drake of Hereford, Ariz.; four stepchildren; a brother; 13 granddaughters; and 12 great-grandchildren.

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