Two men have been arrested for allegedly posing as federal agents over the course of several years. The FBI alleges that Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36, have posed as various US government officials and employees, including members of federal law enforcement agencies, since February of 2020.
The two allegedly obtained paraphernalia, handguns and assault rifles used by federal law enforcement agencies. The FBI claims that they used their false associations with the US government “to ingratiate themselves with members of the federal police and defense community.”
Taherzadeh, posing as a member of the Department of Homeland Security, provided members of the US Secret Service and a DHS employee with free apartments, “iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a flat-screen TV, a store an assault rifle, a generator, and police paraphernalia,” FBI Special Agent David Elias wrote in an affidavit.
In one case, Taherzadeh allegedly offered to buy a gun for a Secret Service agent assigned to the first lady’s protection team. Four Secret Service agents were placed on administrative leave amid the ongoing investigation.
The two were discovered on March 14, when the US Postal Inspector responded to a DC apartment building for a report of an assault involving a US Postal Service letter carrier. Taherzadeh and Ali told authorities who were members of a DHS police force and who were involved in undercover gang-related investigations and who were also investigating last year’s riots at the US Capitol.
Other residents in the building said the two, who had multiple apartments in the building that they said “were being paid for by DHS,” had access to residents’ surveillance cameras, cell phones and other personal information. Authorities later learned that many of the buildings’ residents were with the FBI, Secret Service and DHS. Others were members of the Department of Defense and the United States Navy.
A person who lived in the building and who was not a federal police employee, identified in the affidavit as “Witness 1,” told Elias that Taherzadeh was carrying a concealed firearm, had a “case file” from Investigations from DHS (HSI) marked “confidential”. and she presented the witness with a badge and other credentials to show that he was in law enforcement.
According to the affidavit, Taherzadeh told Witness 1 that as part of the “HSI recruitment process,” he would shoot the witness with an air rifle to test his “reaction and pain tolerance.” The witness agreed and Taherzadeh shot them. Ali was present during the shooting.
In July 2021, Taherzadeh and Ali met “Witness 2,” a Secret Service agent, according to the FBI. Taherzadeh told the agent about his work with HSI and sent the agent several photos of himself in his “police tactical gear” and of HSI training, the last of which turned out to be a stock image found on the Internet, the FBI said. . Taherzadeh also lent the officer’s wife what he claimed was a “government vehicle,” she offered to buy the officer a gun and gave him a gun carrier. Ellias alleges that the agent still has the owner.
The agent, who lived in the same building, confirmed that Taherzadeh had access to the building’s security cameras and was carrying a firearm, the FBI said.
Another Secret Service agent, identified as “Witness 3,” lived in a penthouse in the apartment building provided by Taherzadeh rent-free from February 2021 to January 2022. The agent said he received emails from what he thought was Taherzadeh’s DHS email, but investigators discovered it was a fake account.
“Witness 4” is a DHS-HSI document analysis expert and also lived in the same building. Witness 4 spoke with her supervisors but could not confirm that Taherzadeh worked for DHS, which Taherzadeh explained by telling her that he was undercover, according to the FBI. Witness 4 told the FBI that she saw “a significant amount of police paraphernalia, including SWAT vests, a large safe, computers, a high-powered telescope, and internal surveillance cameras in her apartment.”
The fourth US Secret Service agent in the affidavit, identified as “Witness 5,” was assigned to protect the White House. The agent lived in an apartment, again provided by Taherzadeh, rent-free from February 2021 to January 2022 after Taherzadeh allegedly told Witness 5 that “HSI had approved additional rooms as part of its operations,” which officials say that was not true.
The officer said they had previously seen police respond to the apartment building about a complaint about Taherzadeh wearing police gear. No action was taken, according to Witness 5.
Taherzadeh showed the agent a computer with “DHS information,” an HSI badge, special police credentials, a DHS/HSI ballistic vest, and firearms. Witness 5 also saw Taherzadeh fire a glock at a shooting range, and the officer personally fired one of Taherzadeh’s AR-15-style rifles at the shooting range. The agent also reported that Taherzadeh had two black SUVs and a Chevy Impala with police lights. Taherzadeh gifted the agent with a drone, a gun locker and a Pelican case, according to the FBI.
Witness 5 alleged that Taherzadeh had access to all floors of the apartment and certain restricted areas, and believes that Taherzadeh used his false credentials to gain access to those areas of building management.
Taherzadeh told Witness 5 that Ali “handled all administrative matters with Taherzadeh’s HSI task force.”
The affidavit did not identify what the ultimate goal of the two men may have been.
In a statement to CBS News, the US 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 have restricted access to Secret Service facilities, equipment and systems,” he said. “The Secret Service adheres to the highest levels of professional conduct and standards and will remain in active coordination with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.”