2 men impersonated federal agents to get close to the Secret Service, FBI says
Two men in Washington, D.C., who were allegedly pretending to be special agents with the Department of Homeland Security have been arrested and charged with falsely impersonating a federal officer.
Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali have been impersonating federal agents since February 2020, according to an FBI affidavit, and have been able to get close with several Secret Service agents assigned to the White House and one to the first lady's protection detail by offering favors.
Taherzadeh allegedly provided rent-free apartments, iPhones, surveillance systems, a flat screen television and other items to win over Secret Service agents and one employee of DHS. He also offered what he called "official government vehicles" and offered to purchase a $2,000 assault rifle for the Secret Service agent assigned to the first lady, the affidavit said.
4 Secret Service members have been placed on leave
In a statement, the Secret Service said it "has worked, and continues to work, with its law enforcement partners on this ongoing investigation. All personnel involved in this matter are on administrative leave and are restricted from accessing Secret Service facilities, equipment, and systems."
Court documents say four members of the Secret Service have been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation.
Taherzadeh and Ali also allegedly recruited an individual to be an "employee of DHS" and "serve on their task force."
As part of the "recruitment process," court documents say, Taherzadeh and Ali said the applicant needed to be shot with an Airsoft rifle to assess their pain tolerance. They also assigned the applicant to conduct research on an individual that provided support to the Department of Defense and intelligence community.
The FBI investigation into Taherzadeh and Ali began after an incident in March when there was an alleged assault involving a United States Postal Service letter carrier in an apartment complex in Washington, D.C. Residents of the building told investigators that Taherzadeh and Ali may have witnessed the event.
Investigators learned from residents that Taherzadeh and Ali have said they have video surveillance of the entire building. Residents also said the two men claimed to have access to all residents' cellphones in the building. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.