Questions loom as prosecutors search for motive in federal agent impersonation plot: report
According to CNN, prosecutors are trying to pinpoint the motive behind the plot and whether or not the two men charged are connected to any foreign governments. There are also questions about what they may or may not have received from the federal agents they defrauded.
On Friday, April 8, assistant U.S. prosecutor Josh Rothstein spoke before a federal judge where he offered a brief update about the investigation. "This investigation is less than two weeks old, and every day it gets worse and worse as more and more evidence comes forward, and more and more witnesses come forward," Rothstein said.
In a written document, he also weighed in with more details about the impending investigation.
"In compromising at least four members of the USSS, they caused a risk to national security and the functioning of an essential government agency protecting the nation's leadership," Rothstein wrote in the document. "Because of the nature and circumstances of the Defendants' conduct, this factor points in favor of detention."
According to ABC News, Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali are facing charges amid accusations that they impersonated federal agents and lavished U.S. Secret Service agents and some of their family members with expensive gifts. In the prosecutors' detention memo, prosecutors offered clarity on the men's status.
"They are not law enforcement agents, and they are not involved in sanctioned covert activities," prosecutors wrote in the detention memo. "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 latest information comes just days after the unsealing of charging documents. The documents, released on Wednesday, April 6, reveal "the men attempted to gift members of the Secret Service not only rent worth up to $40,000 but also weapons, including offering to purchase a $2,000 assault rifle for a member of first lady Jill Biden's detail."
In the court filing, prosecutors also said: "they 'compromised' U.S. Secret Service 'personnel involved in protective details and with access to the White House complex by lavishing gifts upon them, including rent-free living.'"
The government added, "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."