Roland W. Haas, a senior intelligence officer in the U.S. Army Reserve who claimed in a 2007 memoir that he was a CIA assassin, died over the weekend when he accidentally shot himself, police in Georgia said.
According to an account in the Newnan, Ga., Times-Herald, “Passing motorists saw Haas on the side of the road” on Saturday night “and heard the pop of a gunshot.”
A police patrolman soon discovered Haas, 58, lying face down behind his car and pronounced him dead, the paper said.
“Authorities believe the victim was in medical distress at the time of the shooting,” the paper reported. “He was in diabetic shock, he suffered heart disease and had ‘several other things going on,’ ” police said.
In “Enter the Past Tense: My Secret Life as a CIA Assassin,” Haas said he had been recruited by the CIA in 1971, when he was a teenager, to conduct behind-the-lines Cold War assassinations. The account agitated a handful of former CIA officers into protesting his employment as head of intelligence for the U.S. Army Reserve at Ft. McPherson, Ga.
Haas was a fraud, John F. Sullivan, a retired CIA polygrapher, wrote to commanders.
“As one of an increasing number of former intelligence officers who believes that Roland Haas’ book… is a hoax, I find your willingness to tolerate Mr. Haas in his scam very disturbing,” Sullivan wrote.
“I am certain that you are as aware as I am that Mr. Haas’ book is 99 percent fiction, but I know also that for you to acknowledge this would leave your component’s hiring and personnel policies open to criticism. As embarrassing as that might be, it is the right thing to do. At some point, Haas will be exposed, and when that happens, your role in this hoax, however minor, could be addressed.”
A handful of accounts about the Haas controversy, including one by SpyTalk in 2008, have mysteriously vanished from the Internet.
On his Facebook page, Haas described himself as “self-employed” but listed two previous, unenumerated stints with the “Department of Defense.”
“Based on the Herald-Times article, it would appear as if Haas had fallen on hard times,” Sullivan said today. “May he rest In peace.”