8 Apr 2022 09:30 am
Several US intelligence officials have been furloughed after receiving gifts, including rent-free apartments, from what turned out to be fake agents. According to reports, they are said to have ties to the Pakistani secret service.
Haider Sher-Ali and Arian Taherzadeh posed as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents and showered Secret Service employees with gifts such as weapons and free apartments for two years. Now the two men were arrested and, according to court documents on Wednesday, charged in a case of identity forgery.
Four Secret Service officials close to First Lady Jill Biden have been furloughed for allegedly accepting gifts from the wrong DHS agents. Sher-Ali and Taherzadeh showered them with gifts, including rent-free penthouses, high-end electronics, police equipment, a drone and use of “official government vehicles.” According to the indictment, Taherzadeh specifically offered one of the agents in charge of the First Lady’s security to buy him a $2,000 assault rifle.
The two men had apparently led not only First Lady Jill Biden’s Secret Service, but also the administration of the building where they resided, to believe that they were US federal officials who, among other things, managed the storming of the US Capitol on March 6th. examined in January. As a result, they received free use of a luxury property worth over $40,000 for their own use and that of Secret Service agents.
When investigators asked why the fake agents weren’t paying rent, a building manager answered with a single word: “government.” The management company, Tishman Speyer, was so confident that the men were US federal officials that they gave the two access to the surveillance cameras and codes needed to gain access to all doors in the building. They also had a folder filled with information about the building’s other residents, which included Secret Service agents and other federal officials, as well as staff and advisers from the US Congress.
The bogus agents even pretended to “recruit” a resident to their “task force” by asking him to let himself be shot with an airsoft gun “to test his pain tolerance and reaction”. The “applicants” told an FBI agent they were hired “after passing tests” to scout a subcontractor who “supports the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.”
It’s not clear how long the bizarre charade would have continued if someone in the building hadn’t attacked a postal worker. When it was learned that the two fake agents might have witnessed the crime, a postal inspector was sent to the building to speak with them. They not only bragged about their bogus ties to US Homeland Security, but also that they were used by the Washington government as “special police officers” and were involved in undercover operations and the January 6 investigation.
According to the postal inspector, the fake agents had managed to convince their roommates that they not only had access to all of the building’s door codes, but also to the mobile phones and personal information of everyone in the complex. The postal inspector forwarded the information to the Department of Homeland Security. There they finally recognized the discrepancies and commissioned the FBI.
The FBI and several other law enforcement agencies then searched the building and found not only a large cache of weapons and electronics, but also Pakistani and Iranian passports, according to prosecutors.
In addition to the impersonation charges already against the men, further charges of conspiracy, possession of firearms and tampering with evidence could follow.
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