Susan Crabtree, RealClearPolitics
There are more details about four Secret Service workers who were involved in an alleged scheme to bribe two men, who are accused of posing as Department of Homeland Security law enforcement officers.
An affidavit filed Wednesday night in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. revealed that one of the Secret Service agents involved in the bribery scheme was a special agent assigned to First Lady Jill Biden’s protective detail. One more was an officer from the Uniformed Division at White House.
RealClearPolitics has learned that another Secret Service special agent involved in the alleged bribery is assigned to President Biden’s detail, those agents who accompany the president nearly everywhere he goes and stand by his side during the most sensitive of discussions and private moments. A second Uniformed Division officer caught up in the bizarre scheme was assigned to protect Vice President Harris’s residence, according to sources familiar with the matter.
RELATED: Report: Biden’s Brother James, Son Hunter Received 150+ ‘Concerning’ Payments
While an investigation is underway, all four of them have been put on administrative leave. RCP won’t release the names of these employees due to privacy issues. The Office of Professional Responsibility and the Inspection Division usually handle any investigation into allegations of employee misconduct. Leaders of the U.S. Secret Service decided that due to the nature and severity of the allegations, they needed a more specific approach.
The agency’s “Insider Threat Division” is leading the investigation into whether the employees allowed themselves to be bribed, whether they knowingly took part in the possible scheme, and whether espionage was involved.
Witnesses were told that the man who impersonated DHS agents said that the accused had links to ISI in Pakistan, an intelligence agency. A prosecutor testified during Thursday’s hearing. The passports of both the Americans accused in the bribery are valid for visas to Iran or Pakistan. The men allegedly tried to impersonate DHS officials in order to pay four elite members of the force protecting the president, vice-president, and their families.
“The Insider Threat Division does not share any information with Inspection,” a knowledgeable Secret Service insider told RCP.
Support Conservative Voices!
Get the most recent news by signing upYour inbox receives political news and insight.
It appears that the investigators involved in the investigation are cooperating with other law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI. On Wednesday, the Secret Service issued a statement noting that the agency “has worked and continues to work with its law enforcement partners on this ongoing investigation.”
“All personnel involved in this matter are on administrative leave and restricted from accessing Secret Service facilities, equipment, and systems,” the agency said. “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.”
Unknown is whether the Secret Service’s four employees who had been placed on administrative leaves are currently being detained by law enforcement, while the investigation progresses. A Secret Service spokesperson did not immediately respond to RCP’s inquiry.
Bidens paid particular attention to the selection of their Secret Service detail. This is not unusual when new presidents enter the White House and assume the position of commander-in-chief. In December 2020, after his election, then-President-elect Biden made some staffing changes amid concerns from political allies that some members of the detail were too politically aligned with President Trump, the Washington Post reported at the time. Biden brought in some senior agents he had known from his time as vice president protecting him and his family.
Arian Taherzadeh, Haider Ali and Haider Ali were charged with impersonating DHS agent. They were placed in prison pending a hearing. Court filings reveal that Taherzadah offered to sell an assault rifle valued at $2,000 to Jill Biden, the Secret Service agent. This is one of the most troubling aspects of the case. The filing also says that Taherzadeh lent what he described as a “government vehicle” to the same Secret Service agent’s wife and also gave her a generator.
RELATED : California Issues Pandemic Food stamps to the Rich
Taherzadeh is also accused of giving members of the Secret Service, as well as a legitimate DHS employee, “rent-free apartments (with a total yearly rent of over $40,000 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 filing states. According to prosecution, the Uniformed Division agent assigned at the White House was one of the recipients of free rent.
The filing stated that the agent lived in an apartment with three bedrooms, which he paid $48,000 per year. The apartment was in the same building as Taherzadeh’s. Prosecutors said he was tricked into believing accepting the free rent wouldn’t raise ethics or conflict of interest issues because Taherzadeh told the agent that a division of DHS “had approved extra rooms as part of his operations, and that [agent] could live in one of them for free.”
“The investigation confirmed that there are no such [DHS] operations, and it authorized no such expense,” the filing said.
Two DHS impersonators seemed to have attacked the apartment complex. It is home to many law enforcement personnel, including Secret Service and DHS staff. Ali and Taherzadeh seemed to be in control of five apartments. When investigators searched the defendants’ apartments, they found a drone, handguns, ammunition, bullet-proof body armor, gas masks, zip ties, handheld radios, body cameras, binoculars, a high-powered telescope, and four laptop computers. Investigators found what looked like official DHS patches and manuals. Also, they discovered scopes for weapons and components of disassembled guns. A list of each apartment resident was also included.
In an FBI affidavit the FBI stated that two of its agents had claimed to be DHS agents starting in February and ending in their arrest. It also noted that the men were carrying insignias as well as firearms that federal agents use as part this deception. The goal was to “ingratiate themselves with members of the federal law enforcement and the defense community.”
They appeared to be lying and their imposter act soon began to crumble when the U.S. Postal Inspector arrived at the complex to examine an assault against a letter carrier.
The inspector interviewed other renters about the incident and discovered that Ali, Taherzadeh, and Ali might have seen the assault. When the inspector spoke to the men, they both identified themselves as investigators with the U.S. Special Police Investigation Unit and “deputized special police” with the city of Washington.
According to an affidavit, the men claimed to have been involved in undercover investigations into gangs and related investigations to violence at the United States Capitol.
Susan Crabtree is RealClearPolitics’ White House/national political correspondent.
Contributors and/or content partners may express their opinions, but they do not reflect those of The Political Insider.