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Enter the Past Tense: My Secret Life as a CIA Assassin Hardcover – July 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When he was in college in 1971, Haas was recruited by the CIA. After extensive field training, he embarked on a life of deception, double-dealing, and (he admits this freely) murder. But, oddly enough, that's not the focus of his autobiography. Instead, Haas emphasizes the toll his profession took on his personal life. The challenges of maintaining a cover identity—his included being an English teacher and part owner of a health club—are, we learn, extremely taxing. Living the kind of life that requires lying constantly about who you are and what you believe can cause enormous pressure to build, and it's no surprise that Haas' life story includes alcoholism, drug addiction, and depression. Spy-genre fans will eat up the details regarding the author's top-secret missions into foreign countries, but it's the book's discussion of the difficulties of balancing public and private lives that gives it weight. An important addition to the espionage literature. Pitt, David


“The story of our government’s role in using highly trained professionals to do certain unsavory but very necessary types of undercover/clandestine missions is not often pretty but has been in need of telling for some time. I can’t think of a more knowledgeable and experienced person to tell that very important story than Roland Haas.”—From the Foreword by Col. Ben S. Malcom, USA (Ret.)
(Col. Ben S. Malcom)

“An incredible story of derring-do well told, including international intrigue, assassination, and deception, with a dash of Hells Angels and personal redemption mixed in. Not only does Haas reaffirm the old adage that ‘truth is stranger than fiction,’ but his is an account likely to cause considerable heartburn at the CIA, for which he worked as a contract employee for nearly three decades.”—Don Bohning, author of The Castro Obsession: U.S. Covert Operations Against Cuba, 1959–1965
(Don Bohning 2007-05-29)

"Haas's tale is definitely entertaining. . . .[his] insights into the cultures he encounters are often engrossing, and he goes into fascinating detail about aspects of his 'profession.' "—Sam Jemielity,
(Sam Jemielity 2007-07-05)

“Often reads like the latest entry from Ludlum or Le Carré . . . fascinating.”—Book News, Inc.
(Book News, Inc. 2008-11-21) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597970867
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597970860
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,988,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Born in Buffalo, New York on April 2,1952. Grew up in Lakewood Ohio. Entered Purdue University on a Naval ROTC scholarship. BA-1974, MA-1976, Purdue University. Entered PhD program at UC Berkeley, 1976. Has taught English, German, Russian at Berkeley, Central Texas College and the University of Maryland. Has worked with/for various US national and foreign intelligence agencies since 1971 throughout the Middle East, Europe and the former Soviet Bloc. Currently the Senior Intelligence Officer and the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (G2)for the U.S. Army Reserve Command in Atlanta, Georgia.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Mutt Winstead on April 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was excited to read this book but I have now put it down and will not finish it. As a matter of fact I would like a refund. Just the inconsistencies with his parachute training are suspect and inaccurate for 1971. HALO school is something you remember I don't care how many drugs you try to obliterate your memory with. I was airborne infantry/parachute rigger in the Army and attended HALO school in 1980. I supported the Military Freefall Committee (SF HALO School) in 1979/80. The author stated that he attended HALO school in Yuma, AZ in 1971. Training at Yuma did not start until the late 80's. His statement that he trained in the wind tunnel at Wright Patterson AFB in 1971 is also not accurate. HALO school did not start utilizing the wind tunnel until the late 80's early 90's. In 1980 our pre-freefall practice was conducted on desk tops and then the first jump was a complete freefall from 12,500 ft, no wind tunnel. These inconsistencies and others lead me to believe that the HALO information was gleaned from the modern day internet research or from watching the Military Channel. I am not going to waste my time reading any further. I am not so naive that I think our gov't agencies do not employ assassins. I am also not so naive that I think this was one of the hired assassins.
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65 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey Deane on July 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In his account about his time in Istanbul, Haas writes about the notorious Gulhane Hotel and the "Tent". The Gulhane was well known among hippies and travelers to Istanbul in the late 60s as a very cheap place to stay while the Tent was a structure the hotel had put on its roof that cost travelers even less to flop down for a night or two.

But the Tent no longer existed when Haas says he was in Istanbul; in late 1971 or early 1972(Haas is not very clear about this). I'm not exactly sure when the tent was taken down but I heard sometime during 1969 that it was removed as a result of a December 1968 shootout between an American drug dealer and the Turkish police. But it was definitely no longer on the hotel's roof in April 1970 when I passed through Istanbul on my way back from India.

Haas's mention of this shootout, which included the drug dealer's name, and his description of the junkie inside the Tent cooking up opium in a spoon and shooting up sounded very familiar when I read it because I had included the incident about the junkie in an article I wrote about the shootout and the drug dealer that I had posted on my website from 2002 to about 2006(along with the article I also posted FBI and U.S. State Department documents about the drug dealer and the shootout which I had obtained through FOIA requests. But, during my research, I had discovered that after 1969 nothing, ever, appeared in print about the shootout that actually named the drug dealer-until my article).

Also, Haas's description of the Tent is exactly how I described it in my article: I wrote that it was made out of canvas and corrugated iron. But it was actually made out of plastic sheet and wood frame!
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By D. Edger on January 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is totally lacking in credibility. I find it representative of an alarming trend to publish obviously false tales and call it non-fiction. Skip this one if you are looking for real works on intelligence, there are much better books to read.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D. Godfrey on August 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought the book about 18 months ago and never got around to reviewing it. Let's just say that just about all of the inconsistencies have been pointed out ad infinitum (no, the CIA doesn't recruit drug-addled 19-year-old college dropouts with nothing to offer the world). I'm sorry I never got around to reviewing it while Haas was still alive. I'm also embarrassed for the US Army Reserve Command who employed Haas and did nothing about his lies, even going so far as defending his rights of "free speech" and not taking a position on his book or even giving him the slightest reprimand (Haas claimed that he went TDY under false pretenses, among other things). However, I will post an article from Russ Bynum of the Associated Press. Notice carefully what Paula Weiss, CIA spokesperson, has to say about Haas. For all of the conspiracy theorists who claim that the CIA will never confirm or deny employment, I think this part in the article pretty much sums it up: "The CIA denied Haas had ever worked for the agency. 'This individual was not a CIA employee ever,' said CIA spokeswoman Paula Weiss." There you go. For all of you Kool-Aid drinkers who will still play the game that Haas played and say, "Well of course they would say that," I can only say that there is no hope for you and that you need to do a serious self-examination of your own critical thinking abilities. To paraphrase Sam Harris, somebody could tell these true believers in Haas that their significant other is cheating on them and they will require hard evidence. However, this guy comes along and writes a bunch of unproven and wild claims and you buy it hook, line, and sinker. Here's the article...

Author of disputed CIA book kills self on accident

By RUSS BYNUM (AP) - 26 August 2010

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