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Scott has been writing about the strange case of the two men “of Washington, D.C.” who are under arrest, having purported to be high-level Department of Homeland Security agents. The men are Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali, which might give the politically incorrect some ideas. News reports indicate that they “compromised” four Secret Service agents, although my understanding is that this simply means that those agents accepted gifts from them. Somehow, Taherzadeh and Ali had plenty of money to throw around.
The case took a small step forward today with the filing of a motion to hold the men in federal custody as flight risks. The motion begins:
For years, Defendants Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali portrayed themselves as federal law enforcement agents involved in covert operations on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). They are not law enforcement agents, and they are not involved in sanctioned covert activities. Neither Defendant is even employed by the United States government. But their impersonation scheme was sufficiently realistic to convince other government employees, including law enforcement agents, of their false identities. They pretended to recruit other individuals to law enforcement and their fake operation—including shooting a person with an air gun—and leveraged their phony law enforcement status to ingratiate themselves to other law enforcement agents in sensitive positions. They compromised United States Secret Service (USSS) personnel involved in protective details and with access to the White House complex by lavishing gifts upon them, including rent-free living. And they procured, stored, and used all the tools of law enforcement and covert tradecraft: weaponry, including firearms, scopes, and brass knuckles; surveillance equipment, including a drone, antennae, hard drives, and hard drive copying equipment; tools to manufacture identities, including a machine to create Personal Identification Verification (PIV) cards and passport photographs; and tactical gear, including vests, gas masks, breach equipment, police lights, and various law enforcement insignia.
Why did they do this, and on whose behalf? At this point, we have no idea. But here are a few things we do know. First, the men were well financed by someone. They had multiple units in a luxury D.C. apartment building: “(1) Penthouse 5; (2) Apartment 708; (3) Apartment 608; (4) Apartment 509; and (5) Apartment 1361.” And they had money to “compromise” the Secret Service.
Second, they were heavily armed:
[F]irearms and ammunition were seized. Specifically, a Glock 19 9mm handgun loaded with 17 rounds of ammunition, including one in the chamber, seven rounds of .308 caliber ammunition, and an ammunition box with over 35 rounds of handgun ammunition…
Law enforcement also seized firearm components typically used with long guns or assault rifles including, among other things: (1) a firearm barrel of an unknown caliber; (2) weapon stock attachments1; (3) foregrips2; (4) pistol grips; (5) a magazine cartridge; and (5) scope(s). In addition, law enforcement recovered a spotting scope, which can be used in a sniper/spotter team.
law enforcement seized a Sig Sauer P229 with five fully loaded magazines, containing a total of 61 rounds.
They had a lot of other stuff that law-abiding citizens don’t usually consider to be necessary. I, personally, have gone through life without ever owning a set of brass knuckles:
Law enforcement also recovered a rifle scope, tactical gear and storage equipment, clothing and patches with police insignias, handheld radios, a high-end drone, a gas mask, handcuffs, zip ties, breaching equipment, a cleaning kit for firearms, an ultraviolet flashlight, an RF-GS k18 which is used to locate hidden cameras, microphones and RF transmitters (e.g. vehicle trackers) computer server with two modules, an encrypted portable hard drive, antennas, and a firearms holster mounted and hidden under a desk.
And they procured, stored, and used all the tools of law enforcement and covert tradecraft: weaponry, including firearms, scopes, and brass knuckles; surveillance equipment, including a drone, antennae, hard drives, and hard drive copying equipment; tools to manufacture identities, including a machine to create Personal Identification Verification (PIV) cards and passport photographs; and tactical gear, including vests, gas masks, breach equipment, police lights, and various law enforcement insignia.
Third, it seems highly probable that these men were acting on behalf of a foreign power, most likely Iran.
Ali’s expired passport contained several visas authorizing foreign travel. For instance, this passport contained two visas authorizing travel from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In addition, Ali’s passport contained two thirty-day visas from Pakistan and one visa for travel to Egypt.
In addition, United States Customs and Border Protection records indcate that Ali traveled: (1) through/to Doha, Qatar6 in November of 2016 and returned approximately 13 days later; (2) through/to Doha, Qatar in May of 2019 and returned approximately 12 days later7; (3) through/to Doha, Qatar in July of 2019 and returned approximately 6 days later; (4) through/to Doha, Qatar in October of 2019 and returned approximately 9 days later, departing from Istanbul, Turkey.8
It strikes me that Mr. Taherzadeh and Mr. Ali are likely to take their place in a line of news stories with respect to which we never got to hear the punch line: the Pakistanis who handled tech services for the Democratic House caucus until their arrest; the Chinese spy who, for years, was Dianne Feinstein’s driver; the Chinese spy Fang Fang who bedded Eric Swalwell–the life of a spy is not an easy one; and I suppose we should add the Chinese companies that slid millions of dollars to Joe Biden and his relatives. (Can I say it one more time? No one has ever bribed the unemployable crack addict Hunter Biden. Any money that wound up with him was a transaction cost.) Such stories are allowed to die a quiet death, because one of the requirements to be a reporter these days is a total lack of curiosity about anything that reflects poorly on the establishment in general, and the Democratic Party in particular.
So, yeah, there is something happening with the two “Washington, D.C.” men. But what it is ain’t exactly clear, and likely never will be.