Out of the Shadows

Title:                      Out of the Shadows

Author:                 Ron Lawruk

Lawruk, Ron (2015). Out of the Shadows: The Life of A CSE Canadian Intelligence Officer. Viotoria, BC, Canada: Friesen Press

OCLC:                    976299002


Date Posted:      March 23, 2017

Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake[1]

Author Ron Lawruk joined the Communications Branch of the National Research Council (CBNRC) in 1958. In 1975 it became the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), but its mission—to monitor foreign signals intelligence—remained the same. As with its American counterpart, NSA, the details of CSE operations are classified and thus, with few exceptions, Lawruk adds little beyond the titles of the organizational elements where he worked. In one exception, Lawruk heads a SIGINT team on a Canadian warship during a NATO training exercise. The team’s mission is to “penetrate the protective shield of the US ‘Blue Team’ vessels escorting the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, undetected” to within firing range of a nuclear missile. (p. 79) They succeeded to the graceful chagrin of the exercise commander. On another occasion, he describes his assignment to head the team that assessed the impact on Canada of the Walker spy case.

Lawruk’s personal story sets an impressive example of what can be achieved with hard work, without a college degree. He started at a rather humble level and advanced steadily to very senior positions that included a tour as liaison to NSA and assignments as the CSE representative at several multinational SIGINT conferences. He traveled widely, often with his family, and he comments on the places visited and the people involved.

Out of the Shadows is a memoir of 56 years of service spanning CSE’s ever-increasing responsibilities, which ended with Lawruk’s retirement to life as a novelist.

[1] Peake, Hayden in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 3, Winter 2016-17, p. 121 ). Hayden Peake is the Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection. He has served in the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Directorate of Operations. Most of these reviews appeared in recent unclassified editions of CIA’s Studies in Intelligence, Other reviews and articles may be found online at http://www.cia.gov

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