Two men were arrested for allegedly posing as federal agents over the course of several years. The FBI alleges that since February 2020, Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36, have been pretending to be various U.S. government officials and employees, including members of federal law enforcement agencies.
The two allegedly obtained paraphernalia, handguns and assault rifles used by federal law enforcement. The FBI claims 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 rent-free housing, “iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a flat-screen TV, a case to store an assault rifle, a generator, and law enforcement supplies.” ‘ FBI Special Agent David Elias wrote in an affidavit.
In one instance, Taherzadeh allegedly offered to buy a gun for a Secret Service agent assigned to the First Lady’s protection detail. Four Secret Service agents have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.
The two were spotted on March 14 when the US Postal Inspector was responding to a report of an attack involving a US Postal Service mailman in a DC apartment building. Taherzadeh and Ali told authorities they were members of a DHS police force involved in investigations related to undercover gangs and were also investigating last year’s US Capitol riot.
Other residents of the building said the two – who owned several apartments in the building which they said were “paid for by DHS” – had access to the residents’ surveillance cameras, cellphones and other personal information. Authorities later learned that many of the building’s residents were with the FBI, Secret Service, and DHS. Others were members of the Department of Defense and the US Navy.
A person who lived in the building and was not a federal police officer, identified in the affidavit as “Witness 1,” told Elias that Taherzadeh was carrying a concealed firearm, a “case file” from DHS Investigations (HSI ) that was marked as “confidential”. and presented the witness with a badge and other identification to prove he was in law enforcement.
According to the affidavit, Taherzadeh told Witness 1 that as part of the “HSI recruitment process” he would airgun the witness to assess their “reaction and pain tolerance.” The witness agreed and Taherzadeh shot her. Ali was present during filming.
In July 2021, Taherzadeh and Ali met “Witness 2,” a Secret Service agent, according to the FBI. Taherzadeh told the agent about his work at HSI and sent the agent several photos of himself in his “police tactical gear” and of HSI training, the latter of which turned out to be an archive image found on the internet, said the FBI. Taherzadeh also loaned the agent’s wife what he claimed was a “government vehicle”, offered to buy the agent a gun, and gave the agent a gun holder. Ellias claims the agent still has the keeper.
The agent, who lived in the same building, confirmed that Taherzadeh had access to surveillance cameras in the building and that he was carrying a firearm, the FBI said.
Another intelligence agent, identified as “Witness 3”, lived in a penthouse in the Taherzadeh rent-free apartment building from February 2021 to January 2022. The agent said he received emails from what he believed was Taherzadeh’s DHS email, but investigators determined it was a fake account.
“Witness 4” is a document analysis expert at DHS-HSI and also lived in the same building. Witness 4 spoke to her supervisors but could not confirm that Taherzadeh worked for DHS, which Taherzadeh explained by telling her he was undercover, according to the FBI. Witness 4 told the FBI she “saw a significant amount of law enforcement paraphernalia, including SWAT vests, a large safe, computers, a high-powered telescope, and internal security cameras in his home.”
The fourth US intelligence agent in the affidavit, identified as “Witness 5,” was assigned to protect the White House. The agent lived rent-free from February 2021 to January 2022 in an apartment provided by Taherzadeh after Taherzadeh reported Witness 5 that “the HSI had approved additional rooms as part of its operations,” which officials said was not true .
The agent said they had previously seen police respond to the apartment building over a complaint about Taherzadeh wearing police gear. According to Witness 5, no action was taken.
Taherzadeh showed the agent a computer with “DHS information,” an HSI badge, special police officer badges, a ballistic vest with DHS/HSI on it, and firearms. Witness 5 also saw Taherzadeh firing a Glock at a firing range and the agent personally fired one of Taherzadeh’s AR-15 rifles at the firing range. The agent also reported that Taherzadeh had two black SUVs and a Chevy Impala with police lights. Taherzadeh gifted the agent a drone, a gun cabinet and a pelican case, according to the FBI.
Witness 5 claimed that Taherzadeh had access to all floors of the apartment and some restricted areas and believes that Taherzadeh used his fake IDs to gain access to such areas from the building management.
Taherzadeh told Witness 5 that Ali “handled all administrative matters with Taherzadeh’s HSI task force.”
The affidavit did not say what the two men’s ultimate goal might have been.