While at Purdue University on an NROTC scholarship in 1971, Roland Haas was recruited to become a CIA deep clandestine operative. He underwent intensive training to prepare for insertion into hostile areas, including High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) parachuting and weapons instruction. In the course of his first mission (to East and West Germany, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Romania, and Austria), he assassinated several international drug dealers. On his return, he was thrown into an Iranian prison, where he was physically and psychologically tortured. Over the next thirty years, he served the agency on an as-needed basis, engaging in such activities as hunting down and eliminating members of the Red Army Faction and extracting Soviet Spetsnaz officers from East Germany. His cover jobs included being a part owner of an Oakland health club, which brought him into close contact with steroid abuse in professional athletics, drug abuse in general, and the Hell's Angels, whom he believes tried to have him killed. He also served in Germany as site commander for the Conventional Forces in Europe weapons treaty. His most recent cover was as the deputy director of intelligence in the U.S. Army Reserve Command, which involved him with the Guantanamo detention facility.
Former CIA agent and assassin Roland Haas discussed his life as a spy and how keeping the secret of a double life almost destroyed him. Regarding his days as a government hitman, he said, "I looked at it as the same way a pilot in the service drops a bomb on a building. He's done that under orders." He detailed his first contracted hit for the CIA, where he was tasked with eliminating a drug lord in Afghanistan. After being briefed on the target, Haas said, he was "left to my own devices" as far as accomplishing his mission. He ran into difficulties when he met the drug lord and saw that he was accompanied by "two burly bodyguards." Luckily, for Haas, the target sent his bodyguards out to get refreshments for the two of them, which left a window of opportunity to accomplish the mission. From there, he said, the main concern was getting out of the country unscathed. Haas explained how the myriad of US-sanctioned murders that he'd committed eventually grew to haunt him ... More »Host: Ian Punnett