US security officials have arrested two men who had spent thousands of dollars seeking to bribe and influence Secret Service agents.
According to an affidavit filed with a US district court, Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36 have been accused by the FBI of posing as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees.
FBI officials said the men had used the fake identities to get closer to four secret service agents one of whom served on US first lady Jill Biden’s protection detail.
In a statement on Thursday, April 7, a Secret Service spokesperson said the agents will be “restricted from accessing Secret Service facilities, equipment and systems” as the investigation progresses.
According to the affidavit filed on Wednesday by federal prosecutors, Mr Taherzadeh and Mr Ali spent thousands of dollars buying four Secret Service agents and one DHS official “rent-free apartments (with a total yearly rent of over $40,000 (£30.578) per apartment), iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a flat screen television, a case for storing an assault rifle, a generator, and law enforcement paraphernalia”.
The pair also offered to buy an assault rifle worth $2,000 (£1,528) for one agent who served as a protection officer for Mrs Biden
Investigators said the men began to pose as federal agents around February 2020 in the closing months of the Trump administration.
The pair also spent thousands of dollars obtaining handguns, rifles and other material to pose as DHS employees, and Taherzadeh often offered their targets the use of vehicles he said belonged to the government.
Taherzadeh also sent agents photos of himself in DHS bullet proof vests and a picture which was purportedly from a training seminar, but was really pulled from a social media post.
However, investigations were launched last month after an official from the US Postal Service responded to a report of an assault on a delivery worker.
Residents in Washington told the FBI inspector that Ali and Taherzadeh had identified themselves to them as DHS special agents and that they used several apartments in the building.
They also alleged that the pair had set up video surveillance throughout the complex claiming they were “special police” officers involved in undercover gang-related investigations and probes related to the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Four secret service agents have been put on leave ahead of an investigation according to officials while the two men involved in the plot will appear in court on Thursday, April 7 in Washington.