Last night, federal prosecutors charged two men for 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. Sounds like a big national security breach. Via wavy.com:
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.
Feds say four Secret Service agents 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 on 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.
According to the Washington Post:
Another witness reported seeing “a significant amount of law enforcement paraphernalia, including SWAT vests, a large safe, computers, a high-powered telescope and internal surveillance cameras in [Taherzadeh’s] apartment.”
The accused are scheduled to appear in court today.
No one's saying what the men wanted to accomplish by posing as law enforcement officers or by providing the gifts, but it doesn't sound benign, does it? These dudes even bought a Dun & Bradstreet listing for "United States Special Police LLC."
The investigation remains ongoing. Which is good, because we'd like to know where their funding came from, and what they wanted.