Matt Bush, FISM News
An affidavit filed in District Court accused two men, Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali, of impersonating Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents over a span of more than two years according to multiple reports. The scheme reportedly fooled multiple secret service agents, including at least one member of Jill Biden’s Secret Service detail.
Over a dozen FBI agents raided the apartment of the two men on Wednesday, taking the fraudsters into custody. The agents reportedly found “a significant amount of law enforcement paraphernalia, including SWAT vests, a large safe, computers, a high-powered telescope, and internal surveillance cameras” inside the apartment according to the Washington Post.
Taherzadeh and Ali created elaborate personas for themselves, allegedly telling people that they worked on a special task force related to the January 6 riot. According to The Daily Beast, “the pair have been posing as high-level DHS agents for more than two years, flashing official-looking IDs, carrying Glocks and driving black SUVs with emergency lights while living out of several luxury units at the Crossings and ‘ingratiating’ themselves with federal law enforcement and defense officials, some of whom they lured to live in the same building.”
The men went to great lengths to ingratiate themselves with the Secret Service, though the purpose of their ruse is still unkown. Typically, when an agent or officer is impersonated, there is malice and gain involved for the impersonators, but so far, an ulterior motive has been elusive for investigators.
The two men, according to Fox News, also “gave U.S. Secret Service agents gifts, including iPhones, apartments, and televisions.” Taherzadeh went as far as offering to purchase a $2,000 assault rifle for a member of Jill Biden’s detail and then loaned that agent’s wife his “government vehicle” complete with emergency light.
The two men owned multiple units in a luxury apartment complex in Washington D.C. called “The Crossings,” which was central to their scam. Taherzadeh and Ali provided agents with rent-free apartments valued at $40,000 per year or more that they equipped with video surveillance they controlled and monitored over the years.
The ruse was so convincing, that the two men convinced at least one person to join their fake “DHS task force.” The anonymous “recruit” went through the application and recruitment process during which they were shot with an airsoft rifle to “evaluate their pain tolerance” and then asked to research another person within the intelligence community.
After two years, the scheme finally fell apart. However, it did not come to an end due to an FBI, Secret Service, or DHS operation. Instead, the scheme was discovered by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).
The USPIS was investigating a separate case because a mail carrier was assaulted at the apartment complex where the two men lived. When questioned, the men identified themselves as a special DHS unit called the U.S. Special Police Investigation Unit. The Postal Inspector gave this information to DHS who then referred it to the FBI.
Members of the apartment complex told investigators that the two suspects had convinced them that the pair had access to their cell phones and personal information whenever they needed it.
The FBI on Thursday revealed that four members of the Secret Service have been placed on administrative leave for improperly accepting gifts.