(RoyalPatriot.com )- Earlier this month, the FBI arrested two Iranian men who had been masquerading as Homeland Security officers.
Arian Taherzadeh, 36, and Haider Ali, 40, were arrested for impersonating Homeland Security Investigations officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for more than two years.
The Iranians used their fake credentials to cozy up to federal agents from agencies like the US Secret Service and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Their attorneys claim that the case against them is “preposterous” and filled with “wild conspiracy theories.”
The judge in the case, Magistrate Judge Michael Harvey rejected the Justice Department’s request that the suspects remain in jail, saying there wasn’t evidence that any classified information was compromised, nor is there evidence the duo is linked to foreign espionage.
According to court documents, the pair were discovered in March when a US postal inspector investigating an assault on a mail carrier happened to interview the two men who identified themselves as members of a fictitious Homeland Security unit called the US Special Police Investigation Unit.
The postal inspector notified DHS who informed the FBI.
While the FBI investigation was underway, Secret Service began looking into one of its agent’s involvement with the two men, inadvertently tipping them off and forcing their arrest.
The two Iranians managed to gain control of a luxury apartment building in Washington after befriending the building’s security personnel. According to investigators, the pair were offering rent-free apartments to agents, including one uniformed Secret Service officer who was given a $48K a year apartment rent-free.
Prosecutors allege the men tried to recruit someone to join their phony task force, and, as part of his recruitment, they shot the guy with an Airsoft rifle to “evaluate” the recruit’s tolerance for pain. They also had this recruit research someone who worked with the Department of Defense and the intel community.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Haider Ali had travel visas for Iran and claimed to witnesses that he had connections to the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI.
The Pakistani embassy, meanwhile, told the New York Times that Ali’s claims are “totally fallacious.”
What remains to be seen is if the FBI inadvertently stumbled on a Pakistani- or Iranian-backed espionage plot or if these two were just a couple of idiots playing make-believe for laughs.
Regardless of which turns out to be the case, the larger question is, how did so many federal law enforcement personnel get hoodwinked?