June 4, 2023


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Imposters in Secret Service scheme won’t be detained per Judge’s order

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Members of the U.S. Secret Service examine belongings removed from a vehicle that tried to drive into a restricted area near the White House, on Nov. 21, 2019 in Washington.

WASHINGTON – A federal magistrate rejected prosecutors’ request to detain accused law enforcement imposters who compromised Secret Service members, saying there is no evidence that the two pose a national security risk or made a “nefarious” attempt to infiltrate the Secret Service.

“There has been no showing that national security information has been compromised,” U.S. Magistrate G. Michael Harvey ruled, casting a wary assessment of the government’s overall case against Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, who were arrested last week following a raid on a downtown apartment complex.

More:Defense lawyers say case against accused federal agent imposters exaggerated, argue for release

More:Secret Service investigation leads to agents put on leave over scheme providing rent-free apartments

Harvey took special aim at the government’s claim that the two suspects, who allegedly posed as federal law enforcement agents, had the actual financial wherewithal to provide personal gifts, including rent-free apartments to at least two Secret Service valued at more than $40,000 each.

The magistrate noted that the owners of an upscale downtown apartment complex where the two suspects allegedly controlled five apartment units had obtained judgements against the suspects for thousands of dollars in unpaid rent.

“There does appear to be a lot of bravado here,” Harvey said.

A Secret Service officer mans his post on the roof of the White House is seen on October 29, 2008, in Washington, DC.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Rothstein said the government would weigh a possible appeal of the decision; Harvey said he would delay the suspects’ release until Wednesday morning to arrange their proper placement in home confinement with family members.

Some of the most tantalizing aspects of the government’s case, however, were called into question by the judge.

In addition to the concerns raised about the suspects’ ability to finance a law enforcement infiltration effort, Harvey said the government’s references to Ali’s foreign travel to Iran, Iraq and Pakistan and alleged claims of a connection to Pakistan’s intelligence agency were overstated.


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