Two men “of Washington, D.C.” (as they are identified in the prosecutors’ press release) were arrested yesterday for impersonating federal officers in a scheme that appears to have involved efforts to compromise the Secret Service. Michael Balsamo lays out the basic elements of the case in the AP story:
Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged two men they say were posing as federal agents, giving free apartments and other gifts to U.S. Secret Service agents, including one who worked on the first lady’s security detail.
The two men — Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36 — were taken into custody as more than a dozen FBI agents charged into a luxury apartment building in Southeast Washington on Wednesday evening.
Prosecutors allege Taherzadeh and Ali had falsely claimed to work for the Department of Homeland Security and work on a special task force investigating gang and violence connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. They allege the two posed as law enforcement officers to integrate with actual federal agents.
Taherzadeh is accused of providing Secret Service officers and agents with rent-free apartments — including a penthouse worth over $40,000 a year — along with iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, flat screen television, a generator, gun case and other policing tools, according to court documents.
He also offered to let them use a black GMC SUV that he identified as an “official government vehicle,” prosecutors say. In one instance, Taherzadeh offered to purchase a $2,000 assault rifle for a Secret Service agent who is assigned to protect the first lady.
Prosecutors said four Secret Service employees were placed on leave earlier this week as part of the investigation.
The plot unraveled when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service began investigating an assault involving a mail carrier at the apartment building and the men identified themselves as being part of a phony Homeland Security unit they called the U.S. Special Police Investigation Unit.
Prosecutors say the men had also set up surveillance in the building and had been telling residents there that they could access any of their cellphones at any time. The residents also told investigators they believed the men had access to their personal information….
A certain discretion governs the allegations so far: “Authorities did not detail what, if anything, the men were aiming to accomplish by posing as law enforcement officers or by providing the gifts. Prosecutors said the investigation remains ongoing.”
Sophie Reardon’s CBS News story reviews the supporting affidavit in more detail. I have been unable to find a copy of the affidavit itself online.
WUSA9 describes the men arrested yesterday as “D.C. men” in the story by Alanea Cremen and Ryan Sprouse that accompanyies the WUSA9 video below. I assume that is based on the press release issued by the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. The press release characterizes them as “of Washington, D.C.”
Michael Doran wonders about a possible Iranian connection to the men (tweet below). The men are to be arraigned in federal court today.
The nationality and goals of these men are curiously omitted. Hmm. ARE THEY IRANIAN? DID THE IRGC PENETRATE THE SECRET SERVICE?Why aren’t we told? (JCPOA?) | Inquiring minds need to know. | 2 men posed as agents, gave gifts to Secret Service officers | https://t.co/4zt6nLFBRH
— Mike (@Doranimated) April 7, 2022