Last week, the jig was up for a couple of men who'd passed for at least 18 months as officials of the Department of Homeland Security. They’d been living at an apartment complex called simply “Crossing,” in the upscale, trendy Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, DC, and had fooled at least four Secret Service agents into thinking they were legit, impressing them with official-looking trappings and offering them expensive gifts. We brought you the story of how they were accidentally discovered as phonies and taken into federal custody, but the big question remained: What was their goal?
According to investigative reporter Lee Smith, author of THE PERMANENT COUP and THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT, court filings and press reports suggest that they might have been part of an Iranian assassination team whose mission was to kill former high-ranking U.S. officials. We mentioned former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week as someone they might be targeting, but Smith says there could be others from the Trump years, including Special Envoy for Iran Brian Hook and, especially, National Security Adviser John Bolton. In fact, all three have been threatened in Iranian media.
Here’s why Smith suspects they were after Bolton: Pompeo and Hook, as former State Department officials, have security details provided by the Diplomatic Security Service. But Bolton, a former White House official, had his security detail provided by the Secret Service. In fact, because of reports of him being targeted, he has had round-the-clock Secret Service protection, perhaps even as far back as late 2021. These two imposters were trying to get in good with...the Secret Service.
Some media reports have said both men, Arian Taherzageh and Haider Ali, are American citizens; others say just Taherzageh is. Ali reportedly told witnesses he had links to Pakistani intelligence. He has a visa to visit Iran and has traveled to that country twice in recent years.
It was obvious from the start that these two men were very well funded. They had a large collection of arms, along with sophisticated electronics and cash, which they used to impress their new acquaintances in the Secret Service. Those four agents --- thoroughly compromised, it would seem --- have been placed on leave pending investigation.
If you don’t know the story up to this point, including the apparently random event that led to the discovery of the imposters, Smith’s article will catch you up. We can thank an on-the-ball U.S. Postal Service Inspector for their apprehension. Smith asks the obvious question: In a building full of federal law enforcement officials, how did these guys manage to hang around, hiding in plain sight, for so long without being found out? One of them even had a recognizably Iranian name, at a time when we’ve known Iran wanted to take revenge for the assassination of their chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp, Qassem Soleiman.
Apparently, Taherzageh told a Homeland Security employee in the building that he had a list of all the residents in the apartment complex, and codes to give him access from the elevators to every floor. He said he could access all the security video footage from every floor, and even the cell phones of everyone who lived there.
To his or her credit, the DHS employee went into the internal database and tried to verify that the two men worked for the agency. Of course, their names didn’t come up, but when he was asked about this, Taherzageh had an explanation: that their names were redacted due to their undercover status. But a real undercover agent would not have discussed his undercover work at all, and he probably wouldn’t have shown off all his weapons and tactical gear. It’s not known if this unusual behavior is what tipped off the DHS employee.
As Smith notes, the U.S. and Iran are currently in negotiation to re-establish the nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew in 2018. Apparently nothing is going to get in the way of this, even Iran’s attempts to infiltrate our government and revenge-kill American officials. In order to get this deal done, the Biden administration seems okay with Iran’s stated targeting of officials from the previous one. Smith puts it this way: “As depraved as that may sound to ordinary Americans, it is the reality that U.S. negotiators have brought about in their decade-long attempt to give international legitimacy, and U.S. protection, to Iran’s nuclear program.”
And, yes, it does sound depraved. Crazy, actually. Our administration seems to want Iran to have its nuclear program just as much as Iran does. What’s wrong with this picture?
We happened upon a story from about a year ago that might help explain, as it describes in detail Obama’s plan to create a new Middle Eastern order centered on Iran, a strategy that might be called “the Realignment.” If Obama were in the White House now, the administration would be doing just the same as Biden is regarding the nuclear deal with Iran. Biden’s even got much of Obama’s foreign policy team in place. Writers Michael Doran and Tony Hadran make the case that, certainly where Iran is concerned, this might as well be the third term of Obama, and “the worst is yet to come.” As they say, “...the Israelis have yet to absorb the full scope and magnitude of Biden’s accommodation of Iran.”
As we outlined a couple of days ago, we even wonder if Obama might not be working behind the scenes to oust both Harris and Biden and make that third term official. But as much as this might please Iran, I’m afraid they’d still insist on their revenge, so the Secret Service had better shape up and stay on alert, especially if they’re guarding former Trump officials.
The article picks apart what’s in the Iran deal --- and what isn’t. Notably missing is any provision that would block all pathways to Iran getting a nuclear weapon. Any obstacles exist as “sunset provisions” that disappear as early as 2025. “By 2031,” these writers say, “the Islamic Republic will have, with international protection and assistance, an unfettered nuclear weapons program resting on an industrial-scale enrichment capability.”
They call Obama’s Iran policy “a Trojan horse designed to recast America’s position and role in the Middle East.” And, “in practical terms, America will use its influence to elevate the interests of Iran over those of other U.S. allies in key areas...” Yes, the article is quite long and detailed, but for when you have time, it’s an eye-opener. The lack of transparency and the deceptions involved are stunning.
A year ago, these writers called Obama “either the most powerful man in Democratic politics or a very close second.” I think if they were writing this today, seeing Biden as feeble and unpopular as he is, they’d say Obama is far and away the most powerful, and, by way of his former staffers still working at the State Department, is the one pulling the strings on foreign policy now.