FBI Just Blew It Again

During a hearing on Tuesday, Washington, D.C. prosecutors were denied a motion to detain the two men who were charged with impersonating federal law enforcement until their trial, citing no proof that the men were at risk of escaping.

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An international team of federal agencies raided several apartments in the Navy Yard area of Washington, D.C., on April 6 and arrested Ari Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35. They were charged with impersonating a federal official in U.S. district court last Thursday.

As part of a detention hearing on Tuesday, Magistrate Judge Michael Harvey pointed out several problems with prosecutors’ arguments that Taherzadeh and Ali were flight risks.

As Harvey noted, the apartments allegedly used by the two men, as well as the ones that were given to Secret Service agents, had never been paid for, and they were subject to a default judgment.

“That doesn’t sound to me like something a foreign agent would do,” Harvey explained.

According to Harvey, the crimes that these two men are accused of are “Class E” felonies, the lowest level of a felony crime.

At first, federal prosecutors argued that releasing the men before trial would put them at risk of flight, given that Ali had allegedly traveled to several Middle East countries, including Pakistan and Iran.

Neither man will flee the country, their lawyers said.

In response, Taherzadeh’s lawyer asserted that federal prosecutors lack evidence that the gifts were intended to influence Secret Service agents, even indicating that the gifts were a gift from friends.

The prosecution said at Tuesday’s hearing that the government arrested the men earlier than intended due to a secret service investigator contacting Taherzadeh’s business email, tipped them off about the federal investigation.

According to prosecutors, Taherzadeh and Ali’s fictitious federal law enforcement agency scheme began to unravel when a United States Postal Inspector entered their apartment complex to investigate an alleged assault on the carrier of the United States Postal Service.

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Ultimately, the case was given to the FBI after the men identified themselves as Homeland Security employees who worked on a special task force related to the Capitol riots on Jan. 6. prosecutors say the men used their fake law enforcement position to integrate with real federal agents and give them gifts.

According to authorities, Taherzadeh and Ali tricked real federal agents into believing they were law enforcement by impersonating them and giving them gifts. Moreover, they allege that the men took advantage of Secret Service personnel who have access to the White House by giving them gifts, including providing them with rent-free living quarters.

Multiple firearms and ammunition were seized by federal agents while executing a search warrant on April 6. According to federal prosecutors’ court filing on April 7, “numerous electronic devices” also were seized, including “a significant amount” of surveillance equipment, 30 hard drives, a device for creating and programming Personal Identification Verification cards, as well as blank cards with chips.

Inspectors learned from residents of the luxury apartment complex that two men installed camera surveillance throughout the complex. Also, they were concerned that the men gained access to personal information, and even claimed to be able to access residents’ cell phones.

Reports last week said that Taherzadeh and Ali gained access to residents’ personally identifying information, like their full names and workplaces, allowing them to identify people they wanted to get close to – this included at least four members of the Secret Service and federal employees at other agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security.

In order to gain access to the inner circle of government workers and contractors, Ali and Taherzadeh spent months living in the building, in the Navy Yard neighborhood of D.C., cooking them filet mignons, and salmons, and inviting them over for beers and hookahs.

When a resident of an apartment building near Taherzadeh reported a firearm sighting, Metro Police searched his unit in early 2021.

The resident spotted the weapons from a window in his three-bedroom corner apartment.

Taherzadeh’s apartment on the 7th floor was searched last Wednesday by the Metro Police Department and the United States Capitol Police.

According to sources, Tishman Speyer, the owner, and operator of the building cooperated with Taherzadeh and Ali under the guise that they were federal agents.

An employee of the building management, Kelly Cianciola, emailed tenants around 11:30 am last Thursday to say that a search warrant was presented to staff at the front desk because of an FBI investigation.

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On April 8, prosecutors filed a court filing noting that “a box of documents with profiles of individual people” and “a binder containing a list of residents, apartment numbers, and contact information” were found during the search warrant execution.

There are four Secret Service agents suspended after they were connected to the investigation, of whom two work for the uniformed division. One of the agents was assigned to the vice president’s residence, but he was not part of her detail.

The Secret Service agent who was assigned to the First lady’s Protective Division is now suspended, and it was reported that this agent could have stood in for agents assigned to President Biden on occasion, although he was not with the president’s primary security detail.