A judge in Washington D.C. denied on Tuesday federal prosecutors’ motion to detain the two men impersonating federal agents because he says he isn’t convinced that there are links to Pakistan intelligence.
He also claimed that deleting social media posts wasn’t proof that the other defendant would tamper with evidence, as federal lawyers argued.
I am going to ‘deny the government’s request that the two defendants be held pending trial,’ Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey said during proceedings Tuesday afternoon.
The decision comes after it was revealed in proceedings earlier Tuesday that Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Sher-Ali, 35, were ‘inadvertently tipped off’ by Secret Service investigators of the probe.
Federal prosecutors argued that Ali should be held because he is a flight risk with possible ties to Pakistan intelligence and that Taherzadeh could tamper with evidence or contact witnesses.
‘I do not find it reliable that Mr. Ali has ties to the Pakistani intelligence service,’ the judge said.
Prosecutors claimed that when speaking to witnesses, it was portrayed that Ali [presented] himself as having ties to the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The judge noted that he is not convinced by the government’s case that there is a larger issue at hand, noting that Taherzadeh and Ali are only facing charges of impersonation of a law enforcement officer, which has a maximum sentence of three years.
In the initial motion for detention filed on Friday, federal investigators noted following the search of five units own by the defendants: ‘Ali’s overseas travel to the Middle East, coupled with his claim to one witness that he has a connection to the Pakistani foreign intelligence service, establish that he poses a serious risk of risk of flight… and Taherzadeh’s efforts to destroy evidence of his involvement in the impersonation scheme after realizing he was under investigation establishes that he poses a serious risk of obstructing justice.’
Ali and Taherzadeh were tipped off on the investigation two days before the FBI raided their apartments, according to federal prosecutors.
An investigator with the United States Secret Service sent an email to Arian Taherzadeh, one of the defendants, at an address ending in ‘ussp.us’ – supposedly standing for United State Special Police, which is the name of an LLC created by the suspects.
That email, which Taherzadeh, 40, responded to, was the message that inadvertently caused the defendant and his partner, Haider Sher-Ali, 35, to suspect an investigation into their ruse.
When asked for comment on the matter, a communications officer with the Secret Service told DailyMail.com that it wouldn’t be appropriate to make comments on a matter still pending adjudication by a federal court.
Taherzadeh and Ali spent their near year-and-a-half living at the luxury Washington apartment building Crossing DC cozying up to Secret Service agents and other federal workers with clearances – showering them with lavish gifts and providing some with free rent, including one instance of a penthouse unit valued at more than $40,000 for the year.
Prosecutors said during a motion for detention hearing Tuesday morning that on April 4, 2022, Taherzadeh received an email from a USSS investigator that led him to believe he was under investigation.
That same day, four Secret Service agents were placed on administrative leave, including at least two on the presidential protective detail for President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden and at least one responsible for guarding Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence at One Observatory Circle at the Naval Observatory.
Two days after the email was received and responded to, the FBI, NCIS and USPIS raided five apartment units leased to Ali and Taherzadeh at Crossing DC in the Navy Yard neighborhood of southeast Washington, D.C.
Ali and Taherzadeh were arrested at a restaurant near the apartment where they were meeting with a third individual, which prosecution claims was an attorney.
The duo and their attorneys will reconvene at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday to hear the judge’s decision on whether they will be held pending trial or if they will be released.
During the second motion for detention hearing on Monday afternoon, the lawyers for Taherzadeh and Ali claimed that their clients pose no threat to the community or of flight, despite illegally owning several firearms.
Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey said Monday that if Ali and Taherzadeh are released, they need to find alternative living spaces then their previous apartments at Crossing DC.
The two men who posed as federal agents at an apartment building in D.C. will not be held in custody pending trial, a judge decided on Tuesday. It was also revealed they were ‘inadvertently tipped off’ to the probe by Secret Service investigators. Haider Sher-Ali, 36, (left) and Arian Taherzadeh, 40, (right) were arrested Wednesday, April 6, 2022 for impersonating federal agents with the DHS claiming to be involved in an investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack
Taherzadeh’s lawyer insisted there is no risk that her defendant will obstruct justice or tamper with evidence further, claiming he only deleted law enforcement posts from social media ahead of the arrest because after he was inadvertently tipped off to the investigation he was ’embarrassed’
Ali’s representation also claimed he was not a flight risk, as prosecutors said he was in their detention motion.
The attorney also said it was ridiculous to suggest that a man with a ‘high school degree’ is a Pakistani intelligence contact.
‘The real impersonation is impersonating this case as a national security treat,’ Ali’s attorney Gregory Smith said during the proceedings Monday.
‘And impersonating my client as some sort of Pakistani intelligence contact – it is utterly false and preposterous. He is a high school graduate,’ he added.
Judge Harvey said that ‘there’s no way I want him [Ali] to go back to the apartment building. There has to be somewhere else for him to live’
The apartment unit where Taherzadeh was living, 708, was searched by Metro Police Department (MPD) officers on February 26, 2021, but the cops left without taking any action, according to an incident report exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com and reported Monday.
The revelation came just as a second motion for detention filing was released showing more images of items and paraphernalia seized from Ali and Taherzadeh’s five units at Crossing DC.
The additional images include more body armor with ‘POLICE’ lettering as well as a dynamic entry kit, cigars and additional firearms with high-capacity magazines.
MPD’s incident report from February of last year states: ‘On the listed date and time MPD members responded to 949 First Street SE in reference to a ‘person with’ call for service.’
A person living adjacent to the Tishman Seyer-owned luxury building in Navy Yard, Crossing DC, noted that they witnessed ‘three subjects handling rifle style firearms inside of an apartment building across from his own.’
‘RP-1 provided MPD members images of the subjects handling what appeared to be firearms,’ the report notes.
While it is clear that Taherzadeh was one of the three individuals involved, it is not clear who the other two people were – although sources claim the other imposter DHS agent Ali was involved.
The police report from MPD notes that all three subjects were ‘stopped in the lobby’ of Crossing DC and ‘were fully cooperative with the investigation.’
‘MPD members were given consent to enter SUB-1’s apartment and inspect the alleged firearms,’ it notes. ‘Investigation revealed that the firearms that were seen were airsoft guns.’
Taherzadeh’s unit on the seventh floor was the one searched by MPD, DailyMail.com can confirm.
It is now known that while Taherzadeh was in possession and use of airsoft guns, he also had a slew of real firearms in his apartment unit at Crossing DC.
The agency report status is listed on the public incident as ‘Pending/Inactive’.
Surveillance footage of the incident was viewed by DailyMail.com.
It showed an extensive ‘plain view’ search by MPD, ending with the officers walking out of the apartment without anything seized or any action taken against Taherzadeh or the other two subjects of the 911 call.
A Magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will hear the second part of the federal prosecution’s motion for detention on Monday afternoon after the initial hearing was cut short on Friday.
The initial motion for detention of the two men who were arrested last Wednesday for impersonating federal agents includes a slew of damning evidence, including images showing several different passports, visas and IDs.
A police report obtained by DailyMail.com shows that Metro Police Department officers searched last year the apartment of one of the individuals posing as a DHS agent after a resident from an adjacent apartment building in Navy Yard called to report seeing firearms. The police determined that the firearms were airsoft weapons, according to the report
New images released by the U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia shows that the two men impersonating DHS agents had a dynamic entry kit on top of their access to residents’ personal information and door access codes
Law enforcement found during their search of Ali and Taherzadeh’s five units illegal high capacity magazines for their handguns. They released images in an additional motion for detention filed on Monday ahead of a hearing on holding the two individuals until their hearing
Prosecutors are urging the court to detain Ali and Taherzadeh as they await trial on a case alleging they impersonated Homeland Security agents and used that guise to cozy up to Secret Service agents and others working in government.
Both men’s respective counsels filed on Monday motions of opposition to Taherzadeh and Ali’s detention.
Ali’s representation accused federal prosecutors of ‘reckless innuendo’ that they claim caused ‘immense reputational harm’ to the defendant accused of posing as a federal agent with DHS.
They also suggested that the case has nothing to do with some ‘wide-ranging plot to infiltrate law enforcement or even the White House.’
One argument by the government is that Ali is a flight risk and has the means and ability to flee to several different countries – further supported by his multiple visas and travel history.
Regarding Taherzadeh, prosecutors are concerned he could intimidate witnesses or tamper with evidence, which he has already admitted to doing.
Social media accounts for Ali are still up, though it appears many images – especially on Facebook – have been removed.
Taherzadeh’s accounts, on the other hand, seemed to have been deleted. Several residents were friends with the defendant on Facebook and Instagram and can no longer find his account when they search for it.
Just after an interaction Ali had with a U.S. Postal Inspector at Crossing DC in March, which eventually led to the duo’s arrest last week, Taherzadeh started deleting law enforcement material from his social media, he told investigators.
‘They are not law enforcement agents, and they are not involved in sanctioned covert activities,’ the motion for detention filed Friday claims. ‘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,’ the memorandum added.
Taherzadeh told law enforcement in an interview after being taken into custody on Wednesday that Ali was the one funding their lavish lifestyle and seemingly endless stream of gifts, but claimed he wasn’t aware where the money was coming from.
The question remains, however, on what Ali and Taherzadeh’s motives were in getting close to people with White House access by impersonating government agents.
FBI agents went floor-to-floor questioning residents of Crossing DC over the weekend. If residents were not home, the above note was left to report any information known on Ali and Taherzadeh
The images of the detention motion also show that cigars were obtained during the search and seizure
Secret Service agents assigned to details for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence are among those being investigated for accepting lavish gifts and partying with Taherzadeh and Ali, who alleged they were agents with the Department of Homeland Security.
At least one of the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) agents receiving free rent from Taherzadehand Ali was assigned to the detail protecting Harris’ residence at Number One Observatory Circle at the Naval Observatory, sources at the building told DailyMail.com.
Another, sources claim, was on the presidential protective detail and regularly traveled with President Biden on Air Force One.
The new information comes after an affidavit released Wednesday revealed that one of the witnesses in the case is a secret service agent that worked on First Lady Jill Biden’s protective detail.
Ali, according to Taherzadeh, was the one able to gain access codes and a list of tenants in the Crossing DC apartment complex – owned by upscale real estate firm Tishman Speyer.
‘With respect to Ali, Taherzadeh stated that Ali had obtained the electronic access codes and a list of all of the tenants in the apartment complex,’ the memorandum notes. ‘Taherzadeh further stated that Ali was the individual that funded most of their day-to-day operation but Taherzadeh did not know the source of the funds.’
Just after the interaction with a Postal Inspector in March, which eventually led to the duo’s arrest, Taherzadeh said that he started deleting law enforcement material from his social media.
Images from the raid Wednesday of a unit on the 7th floor where Taherzadeh was residing allegedly for free showed agents recovered ‘three current copies of Taherzadeh’s Washington D.C. driver’s license, passport, United States Special Police – Special Investigations Unit business cards, a USSP police badge, and several identification and credit cards.’
‘In addition, law enforcement recovered the business card of a USSS Agent referenced in the complaint affidavit,’ the motion added.
Images from the raid Wednesday of a unit on the 7th floor where Arian Taherzadeh was residing allegedly for free showed agents recovered ‘three current copies of Taherzadeh’s Washington D.C. driver’s license, passport, United States Special Police – Special Investigations Unit business cards, a USSP police badge, and several identification and credit cards’
A memorandum supporting a motion for detention of Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Sher-Ali, 35, shows that the men had a slew of garb in their luxury DC apartment units, including fraudulent police garb
Two passports and multiple visas from Ali show that he has traveled to Pakistan, Egypt, Qatar, Iran and Turkey
Images also show a slew of firearms, including rifles, that were stashed around the units
During an arraignment Thursday afternoon, details emerged that there could be connections between Ali and the Pakistani Intelligence Service.
Two of his passports were found during a raid of his unit on the 6th floor of Crossing DC.
‘Ali’s expired passport contained several visas authorizing foreign travel,’ the Friday memorandum notes. ‘For instance, this passport contained two visas authorizing travel from the Islamic Republic of Iran.’
‘The Government has identified at least four entry/exit stamps from Mashhad International Airport in Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan, Iran.’
It goes on: ‘In addition, the Ali’s passport contained two thirty-day visas from Pakistan and one visa for travel to Egypt.’
Images of these visas and passports corroborate the claims made in the memorandum for detention of Taherzadeh and Ali.
Customs and Border Protection records show that Ali traveled through Doha, Qatar in November 2016, May 2019 and July 2019. He also went through there in October 2019 and returned from Istanbul, Turkey.
Firearms recovered from unit 708, where Taherzadeh had a three bedroom unit supposedly for free
Taherzadeh validated in an interview with law enforcement that the claim in the affidavit from one witness that ‘he did in fact shoot someone, identified in the complaint as Witness 1, with an Airsoft gun’ during a ‘recruitment’ process to his fake agency to test the individuals reaction and pain tolerance. Pictured is a number of airsoft ammunition recovered from Taherzadeh’s apartment
Recovered from Ali and Taherzadeh’s units in Crossing DC were several articles of clothing with logos and claims of being law enforcement
The two men arrested in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday who attempted to cozy up to Secret Service agents could face conspiracy charges after spending their year-and-a-half living in a luxury apartment building allegedly posing as federal agents.
A regional manager for Tishman Speyer, the owners of the building where Taherzadeh and Ali’s apartments were raided on Wednesday, had set up a meeting to speak with DailyMail.com on Friday morning – but the individual pulled out at the last minute.
Just a mile from the Capitol and three miles from the White House, Taherzadeh and Ali were conducting an operation where they posed as agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) – tricking a luxury DC apartment building and its high profile residents as well as appearing to convince Metro Police Department that they were working for the government.
The government request for detention notes that following Taherzadeh’s arrest Wednesday, he voluntarily interviewed with law enforcement.
‘During he (sic) course of this interview, Taherzadeh admitted, among other things, that: (1) he had falsely identified himself as a member of the Department of Homeland Security; (2) he had falsely identified himself as a former United States Army Ranger.
He also admitted to interviewers that a Sig Sauer 229 found in the raid belonged to him and was in his possession, but said that while the Glock 19 firearm was in his possession, it belonged to Ali.
The memo goes on to note Taherzadeh admitted: ‘[H]e offered to provide a USSS agent with an assault rifle; he provided free apartments to two USSS agents for approximately one year; he had provided a ‘doomsday bag,’ generator, flat screen television, two iPhones, a drone, a gun locker, a Pelican case, and a mattress to agents and officers of the USSS.’
Taherzadeh also validated the claim in the affidavit from one of the witnesses that ‘he did in fact shoot someone, identified in the complaint as Witness 1, with an Airsoft gun’ during a ‘recruitment’ process to his fake agency to test the individuals reaction and pain tolerance.
Regarding the discovery of several weapons, the memo notes: ‘First, Taherzadeh is not permitted to possess a firearm.’
It described that Taherzadehw as charged in July 2013 with Strangulation Resulting in Wounding, which is a Class 6 Felony, and one count of Assault and Battery on a Family Member, a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
The person he faced the assault and battery charge against was his wife, noted only as ‘M.H.’ in the court document.
The two are said in the affidavit released Wednesday to have successfully ingratiated themselves with Secret Service agents, at least two of whom were reportedly given rent-free in penthouse and multiple-bedroom luxury apartments as well as high-end electronics and policing equipment.
The free rent in several units – valued at a minimum of $40,000 per year for just one of the penthouse apartments – was apparently not paid for at all.
A former representative of Crossing DC who worked at the building since the start of Taherzadeh’s lease confirmed that none of the units were being paid for at any time. When asked why they were not paying rent on the units, the individual responded with one word: ‘Government’.
One item recovered was a machine to create Personal Identification Verification (PIV) cards and passport photographs
Ali, according to Taherzadeh, was the one able to gain access codes and a list of tenants in the Crossing DC apartment complex – owned by upscale real estate firm Tishman Speyer. Ali was also apparently funding the luxury lifestyle and seemingly endless stream of lavish gifts
Taherzadeh will be held until his 3:30 p.m. detention hearing on Friday after an arraignment on Thursday afternoon revealed there could be connections between Ali and the Pakistani Intelligence Service.
Both Pakistani and Iranian visas were found during the search Wednesday, according to prosecutors, and there will likely be a conspiracy charge.
Potential crimes, according to a Magistrate judge, involves possession and use of a firearm and the destruction of potential evidence after learning an investigation was underway.
Among the firearms being kept in the unit occupied by Taherzadeh, sources claim, were a Glock 19 .9mm with high capacity magazines, a fully automatic suppressed M4-style rifle, an AR pistol and a Sig Sauer handgun. He also showed some residents training weapons, including the airsoft gun used to ‘test’ so-called ‘recruits’ on their reaction and pain tolerance.
Among other items found was a binder with information on residents in Crossing DC, which includes many real federal agents, those working for the White House and congressional aides and advisors.
Agents with the FBI, NCIS and USPIS swarmed several floors and units of a luxury apartment building in southeast Washington, D.C.
Taherzadeh (right) and Ali (not pictured) spent a year-and-a-half of residency hanging out with residents and cozying up to people working for government – including at lest four Secret Service agents. Pictured: Ali at Crossing DC’s rooftop pool with other residents and guests
One of the Secret Service agents accused of getting gifts from Taherzdeh and Ali worked on First Lady Jill Biden’s security detail, according to the affidavit. That agent, as well as three others, have been placed on leave as an investigation continues. Pictured: First Lady Jill Biden speaks during a commissioning ceremony on April 2
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had no comment on the matter during her Thursday press briefing, telling reporters: ‘I don’t have any comment from here. I’d point you to the Secret Service and others investigating.’
During their time living at the building in the Navy Yard neighborhood of D.C., Ali and Taherzadeh spent months wining and dining government workers and contractors, cooking them filet mignon and salmon and inviting them over for beers and hookah in order to work their way into the inner circle.
Management office staff for Crossing DC did not respond to DailyMail.com for a request for comment.
In early 2021, Metro Police did a search of Taherzadeh’s unit when a person from a surrounding apartment building made a call reporting a sighting of firearms in his 3-bedroom corner unit through an open window.
Video footage viewed by DailyMail.com showed members of the Metro Police Department and United States Capitol Police searching Taherzadeh’s apartment on the 7th floor. They saw firearms in plain sight that are illegal to own in the District of Columbia, but were provided with credentials that seemed to convince them that Taherzadeh was an agent permitted to own such weapons.
MPD told DailyMail.com that the issue has been moved to the FBI and did not provide further statement.
A member of building management, Kelly Cianciola, sent a statement to Crossing DC tenants around 11:30 a.m. Thursday claiming that the 4:00 p.m. raid came after search warrants were presented to front desk staff due to an FBI investigation.
‘The building staff fully cooperated with the investigation, while doing our best to minimize disruption to our residents,’ the statement, obtained and read by DailyMail.com, reads. ‘The FBI concluded its search overnight and is no longer on the premises.’
Much of Ali’s Facebook has been deleted, but some images remain
Taherzadeh went on a trip to Nashville with some residents of the building
Arian Taherzadeh, 40, left and right, was one of two men arrested Wednesday for allegedly impersonating Department of Homeland Security officers to infiltrate the Secret Service. He and Haider Ali, 36, allegedly showered the Secret Service officers with gifts
No other details have been shared with residents about the ongoing investigation and who their neighbors really are – and when asked for more information on the matter, no response was given.
Units on at least the 5th, 6th, 7th, 13th and Penthouse levels were raided and carefully combed through by agents with the FBI, NCIS and United States Postal Inspection Service. It is not clear if NCIS and USPIS are still on premises.
Taherzadeh and Ali stand accused of impersonating federal agents and were arraigned in court Thursday afternoon.
Fake websites helped them corroborate their claims to residents that they were members of the ‘special police’ and the two stand accused of attempting to con an unnamed ‘applicant’ to join their Homeland Security task force they invented.
The recruitment process included shooting the applicant with an airsoft rifle to supposedly evaluate their pain tolerance, the affidavit lays out and sources confirmed. The individual being ‘recruited’ was instructed to research an unnamed person who worked as a contractor for the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.
According to sources, the Tishman Speyer-owned and operated building cooperated with Taherzadeh and Ali believing the guise that they were federal agents. Building management, the sources allege, provided the duo with access to surveillance cameras, including codes to access all doors in the building and a list of personal information about a number of residents.
A former security guard for the building, however, said that an overnight concierge would call down Ali and Taherzadeh when things happened in the building to show them surveillance footage.
Ali and Taherzadeh provided the all-access door code to several residents, another source confirms.
The luxury building has at all times a front desk concierge and security guard stationed in the building. The company contracted for the front desk staff is from Classic Concierge and security is provided by Allied Universal, which also staffs some government and corporate buildings.
Crossing DC upper management refused to speak out further on the matter and are not responding to media or tenant requests for more information. Questions regarding why Taherzadeh and Ali were given access to security cameras, door codes and personal information of residents are still going unanswered – and the potential level of complacency of Tishman Speyer’s residential property staff is still unknown.
Neither the FBI nor other police or law enforcement have alleged wrongdoing by Tishman Speyer, Crossing DC or Allied Universal – the building’s contracted security.
FBI personnel were seen entering the Crossings Apartments in southeast DC on Wednesday
Residents were told in an email obtained by DailyMail.com on Thursday that FBI agents were no longer on the premises. Pictured: Federal officials entered both Taherzadeh and Ali’s apartments and began combing through their belongings
A separate unit, leased by Taherzadeh, was raided by U.S. Postal Inspector agents. The case against Taherzadeh and Ali stemmed from a USPIS probe into an alleged assault on a USPS letter carrier that happened in the building, which the impersonators witnessed
The two men’s motive for the scheme has yet to emerge, with an investigation into their behavior ongoing
Access to residents’ personal identifiable information, like full names and workplaces, allowed Taherzadeh and Ali to target who to get close with – this included at least four members of the United States Secret Service and those working for other federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security.
Four members of the agency, which includes a member of the first lady’s security detail, have been placed on leave. Their identities have still not been revealed, but, according to other tenants, at least two have moved from the building in the last few months.
U.S. Secret Service Media Relations released a statement Thursday morning on the connection of the impersonators and their agents, claiming they have and continue to work with law enforcement in the ongoing investigation.
‘All personnel involved in this matter are on administrative leave and are restricted from accessing Secret Service facilities, equipment, and systems,’ the statement reads.
‘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.’
Residents of the 800-unit building went nearly 20 hours without an update from building management following images of a slew of federal agents occupying the lobby and halls since Wednesday afternoon.
As of 10:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, other occupants of the unit where Ali lives were allowed back in – including at least one woman and a few young children.
A Quora account with the name Ari Taherzadeh shows several posts from two and three years ago talking about firearms and what weapons are used by Secret Service detail to protect members of the executive.
‘What is the typical weapon the Secret Service carries when providing close protection for the vice president?’ one question on the profile asks.
An answer posted by the account listed to ‘Ari Taherzadeh’ responded with a detailed description of the firearms used by Secret Service agents, claiming: ‘Since 1999, the current standard sidearm issued to Secret Service agents has been the Sig Sauer P229 DAK chambered in the .357 Sig round.’