Four Secret Service agents have been placed on leave due to their connection with the accused associated with Pakistan intelligence who were pretending to be US federal security employees. The incident has prompted security experts to question whether Pakistan intelligence has successfully infiltrated Joe Biden’s inner security?
A federal prosecutor informed a judge on Thursday that one of two individuals arrested in Washington for acting as US federal security employees and fostering proximity to the Secret Service, which safeguards President Joe Biden, professed connections to Pakistani intelligence.
Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, were detained Wednesday for masquerading as Department of Homeland Security agents. Justice Department assistant counsel Joshua Rothstein requested a judge to not discharge them, reports South China Morning Post.
The men are also suspected of giving attractive favors to Secret Service agents, notably one on First Lady Jill Biden’s protection team.
Ali had travelled to Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, and Qatar in 2019, mere months before the two started recruiting security personnel in their Washington apartment complex, according to Rothstein. Ali had also transited Doha many times.
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In addition, Rothstein said, Ali “made claims to witnesses that he had connections to the ISI, which is the Pakistani intelligence service.”
The case is being handled by the Justice Department as a criminal matter rather than a national security dilemma. However, four Secret Service agents have been placed on leave due to their connection with the accused.
“All personnel involved in this matter are on administrative leave and are restricted from accessing Secret Service facilities, equipment, and systems,” the Secret Service said in a statement.
According to an affidavit presented by the court, Taherzadeh and Ali, both US residents, stayed in a Washington residential complex with a lot of federal security personnel.
They were able to persuade a few of the agents that they were special Homeland Security investigators by exhibiting uniforms and documentation to back up their claims.
However, Rothstein informed the court that the charge might be upgraded to conspiracy, which entails a five-year maximum sentence.
The two men’s motivations were obscure, but they did hire a third individual to operate for them at one time, telling him “to conduct research on an individual that provided support to the Department of Defence and intelligence community.”
According to the affidavit, Taherzadeh supplied many Secret Service and Homeland Security personnel with rent-free units worth up to $4,000 per month.
According to the affidavit, he also offered them iPhones, surveillance devices, a television, and law enforcement gear.
Taherzadeh gave the Secret Service agent who served on the first lady’s squad a $2,000 assault rifle and conducted favors for his wife, as well as loaning her his automobile.
Taherzadeh and Ali seemed to manage many units in the apartment complex, according to the affidavit, and Taherzadeh had access to the full security system.
The two drove enormous black GMC SUVs with emergency lights, as do many cops.
Taherzadeh was armed with handguns similar to those used by US federal agents, and he showed others that he had safe access to what seemed to be Homeland Security computer systems.
The prosecutor attempted to stop the defendants from being released on bail during their first appearance in court.
However, because neither party had obtained complete legal representation, the judge postponed the ruling until a second hearing on Friday.
Taherzadeh and Ali face a maximum sentence of three years in prison and penalties of $250,000 if guilty.