The FBI arrested two men Wednesday for allegedly impersonating federal officers, and four U.S. Secret Service members, including an agent assigned to protect First Lady Jill Biden, were put on leave.
“The Secret Service has worked, and continues to work, with its law enforcement partners on this ongoing investigation,” the Secret Service said in a statement. “All personnel involved in this matter are on administrative leave and are restricted from accessing Secret Service facilities, equipment, and systems.”
According to an FBI affidavit filed with the U.S. District Court For the District of Columbia, Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali falsely pretended to be Department of Homeland Security and Homeland Security Investigations officers.
According to the FBI, they attempted to use their false affiliation with federal law enforcement to ingratiate themselves with U.S. Secret Service agents and an employee of DHS.
Taherzadeh and Ali provided Secret Service members with rent-free apartments, iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a flat screen television and other items, the FBI said.
Taherzadeh also allegedly offered to buy a $2,000 assault rifle for a Secret Service agent assigned to the First Lady’s protective detail.
Four Secret Service members were placed on administrative leave pending further investigation, according to the FBI.
The investigation started March 14 when a United States Postal Inspector responded to the assault of a postal carrier in Washington, D.C. The inspector, the FBI affidavit said, learned about Taherzadeh and Ali representing themselves as DHS Investigations special agents.
Taherzadeh and Ali lived in a large apartment complex that was also home to several law enforcement members, including FBI, USSS and DHS.
The suspects claimed to be doing undercover gang-related investigations and also investigations related to violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The FBI affidavit said the investigation revealed that Taherzadeh and Ali used several apartments in a large complex in Washington, D.C., claiming the apartments were paid for by DHS.
Residents of the complex also said the two had set up video surveillance at the complex.
Further investigation found the two suspects were actually in regular contact with members of the USSS, according to the FBI.
Taherzadeh and Ali also tried to “recruit” people to work for DHS and HSI. They shot one person being “recruited” with an airsoft rifle to test their reaction and tolerance for pain, according to the FBI affidavit.
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