In what could be only the tip of the iceberg of something far bigger, two men have been arrested for impersonating Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents and ensnaring several unwitting Secret Service agents and Secret Service uniformed officers in a sophisticated influence operation.
The bizarre two-year-long scheme involved at least four members of the Secret Service with the fake DHS agents providing the Secret Service officers and agents tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and perks.
The gifts included penthouse apartments, surveillance equipment, iPhones and expensive rifles.
The Daily Beast reported:
According to an unsealed affidavit filed in federal court, 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 two men claimed to be involved in undercover gang-related investigations, as well as investigations related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the complaint said.
The four Secret Service personnel, who have been placed on leave, apparently were convinced by the fake pair of agents that they were part of a special DHS investigation.
The bigger questions should be who is behind such an elaborate scheme? And what was the end game?
According to USA Today:
The disciplinary action was taken in connection with the Wednesday arrests of Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36, who were charged with impersonating Department of Homeland Security agents, according to court documents.
Both men were detained pending court appearances Thursday in a Washington, D.C., federal court.
Federal authorities alleged that Taherzadeh provided Secret Service members and a Homeland Security employee with more than $40,000 in rent-free apartments at an up-scale D.C. complex, smartphones, surveillance systems, a flat-screen television and assorted law enforcement paraphernalia.
In one case, Taherzadeh allegedly offered to purchase a $2,000 assault rifle for a Secret Service agent assigned to the protective detail of first lady Jill Biden.
Another Secret Service employee, a member of the agency’s Uniformed Division assigned to the White House complex, was provided access to a penthouse apartment valued at $40,200 between February 2021 and January 2022.
Taherzadeh allegedly told the officers that the apartments were approved by the DHS as part of his work.
The complaint said Taherzadeh owned a company called “United Special Police,” which advertises as a private security and investigative agency.