Four members of the United States Secret Service, including one member who was on first lady Jill Biden's protective detail, were suspended after they allegedly associated with and were provided gifts from two men who are accused of pretending to be Homeland Security Investigations agents.
The two men, Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali, were charged with impersonating federal law enforcement officers and allegedly provided members of the Secret Service gifts such as rent-free apartments totaling $40,000, surveillance systems, a drone, law enforcement paraphernalia and more, court documents said.
"All personnel involved in this matter are on administrative leave and are restricted from accessing Secret Service facilities, equipment and systems. The Secret Service adheres to the highest levels of professional standards and conduct and will remain in active coordination with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security," the Secret Service said in a statement Wednesday night.
Taherzadeh and Ali allegedly posed as "Special Police," claiming "to be involved in undercover gang-related investigations as well as conducting investigations related to the violence at the United States Capitol on January 6," according to court documents unsealed Wednesday night.
Taherzadeh went so far as to show someone who is identified in court documents as "Witness 1" an "HSI casefile" they were "working on" that was marked "confidential." They even went so far as to have identical Chevy Tahoes fitted with police lights.
"TAHERZADEH told Witness 1 that as part of the recruiting process, TAHERZADEH would have to shoot Witness 1 with an air rifle in order to evaluate Witness 1's reaction and pain tolerance. According to Witness 1, because he/she believed this was part of the DHS/HSI recruiting process, he/she agreed to be shot and subsequently was shot by TAHERZADEH. During the shooting, ALI was present."
Another witness who was interviewed in court documents, and is on the first lady's detail, was told by Taherzadeh that he was on a "covert task force" and he provided many favors to residents who were members of law enforcement. He also offered to gift the unnamed witness an AR-style rifle.
Additionally, the unnamed Secret Service agent on the first lady's detail was told by Taherzadeh that he had the same agency gun the witness did.
"TAHERZADEH came to Witness 2's apartment carrying a Glock 19 Generation 5 in an Ayin Tactical Holster. TAHERZADEH stated that he had an extra holster and wanted to give Witness 2 the Ayin Tactical Holster for Witness 2's newly issued Glock 19 Generation 5. Witness 2 is still in possession of this holster."
Another witness, who is not named, allegedly saw Taherzadeh's fraudulent Department of Homeland Security computer and Federal Training Center certificate.
The men told residents of the Navy Yard apartment complex where they lived that they were renting out apartments paid for by the DHS and set up a surveillance system around the apartment complex in which residents could access it at any time from their mobile device.
"These residents stated that they believe that TAHERZADEH and ALI had access to personal information of all the residents at the apartment complex."
One witness believed the two men had access codes to everywhere in the building due to them posing as law enforcement.
Taherzadeh allegedly walked up to another DHS employee who worked for HSI. However, when the employee looked him up in the database, he could not be found.
The investigation began when the suspects were witnesses to an assault involving a letter carrier and Postal Inspection Agents interviewed them.
"The USPIS Inspector provided this information to the DHS Office of Inspector General, which then referred the information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for further investigation. It was at this point that the FBI began its investigation, which corroborated the statements of residents obtained by the USPIS Inspector," court documents said.
The names of the suspended Secret Service members have not been released. The court documents did not say when these alleged interactions occurred.