In what is easily one of the most bizarre and, so far, inexplicable stories of the year, two men were recently accused of attempting to bribe several U.S. Secret Service personnel with a number of high-dollar gifts.
According to Fox News, one former Secret Service agent noted that the scam was akin to what’s known as the “honeypot scam” that agents are trained to avoid, but apparently didn’t avoid in this particular case. The honeypot method allows potential bad actors to gain the trust of specific agents using attractive women, or in this case, possibly men.
Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Sher-Ali, 35, were caught luring several agents with high-end, expensive Washington D.C. apartments, expensive tactical gear, televisions, firearms, and more.
So far, it’s unclear what the motive was other than infiltrating a government law enforcement agency, but unfortunately, it’s also unclear who funded the expensive, years-long con.
“Less than honest”
Former Secret Service agent Gary Byrne explained his take on the bizarre developments.
“Based on my long experience over 29 years, this sounds like the honeypot scam we were trained on back in the ’80s — the foreign intelligence agencies using women to persuade you — instead they were using firearms, free apartments, and you should always be on the lookout for that,” Byrne said.
He added: “They shouldn’t be taking any gifts, they should be asking questions, and for it to go on this long and then to be stumbled on by another agency, the Secret Service has got a lot to answer for.”
“The problem is, through the history of the Secret Service, they are less than honest at times when it comes to looking at themselves.”
Critics of the agents raised concerns over the relative ease at which the con artists were able to gain the trust of the agents, who should have otherwise been highly trained against such cons. Even more so given that some of the agents caught up in the situation had high-level access to executive VIPs.
It gets weirder
According to the New York Post, the men involved in scamming the agents were reportedly released to their families where they remain under house arrest and monitored via GPS.
“US Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey signed the orders for the two men’s release on Tuesday and called the Department of Justice’s claims that the men were dangerous and compromised national security ‘overblown,'” a CNN report noted.
Critics feel as if something is off in this situation, as there isn’t anything “overblown” about two men who successfully scammed their way into the workings of the highest agent levels of the Secret Service. There’s likely much more to come out of this developing story.