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Fake CIA agent told woman from church ISIS was after him — and maybe her, NY cops say

This pickup line was so bad it was actually a crime, according to police.

Ryan R. Houghtalen, a 25-year-old man from Cicero, New York, was arrested on charges of criminal impersonation of a public servant after he pretended to be a CIA agent to impress a woman, state police said in a press release on Monday.

State troopers said Houghtalen met the woman at church and showed her a fake CIA ID card that he had made, telling her ISIS was pursuing him — and that the terrorist group might come for her, too, reports.

“He was hoping to use that information to start a relationship with her,” state police spokesman Jack Keller said, according to

But the job was a lie — and the woman Houghtalen is accused of misleading now has a protection order against him, according to state police.

“He stated ISIS was after him and because she knew him, that her life might be in danger too,” Keller said, according to

The woman called police last weekend and state troopers (working with federal law enforcement) confirmed he didn’t work for the CIA, but did work for the U.S. military, reports.

A LinkedIn page that appears to belong to Houghtalen suggests he’s a member of the Air Force, and reported in 2013 that a Ryan R. Houghtalen completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, after graduating from Cicero North-Syracuse High School in 2011.

Keller said in an email to McClatchy that the case is “still an open investigation, so no further details are being released.”

Police said Houghtalen was booked at the Onondaga County Justice Center.

The charge Houghtalen faces is a misdemeanor, police said.

It wouldn’t be the first time a man has pretended to be a federal officer to impress a woman: Last year, federal prosecutors in Southern California said a 26-year-old man pretended to be an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent with a woman he was dating — and with just about everyone else he knew, as McClatchy reported.

Matthew Johnston even wore ICE uniforms and badges, carried around a tactical vest that read “federal agent” and wrote on Facebook that he worked in “fugitive apprehension” in the Department of Homeland Security, according to court records.

But it wasn’t the ICE lie that got Johnston sentenced to two years in federal prison — it was a charge for possessing an unregistered destructive device, which law enforcement said they found after they began investigating him and searching his home.


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