Arrest of Chinese Woman Raises Security Fears at Mar-a-Lago

Secret Service says she was carrying malware
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2019 1:12 AM CDT
Two Marine Corps helicopters depart from President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday afternoon, Feb. 18, 2019.   (Bruce R. Bennett/Palm Beach Post via AP)
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(Newser) – Serious questions are being asked about security at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort after the arrest of a Chinese woman who was carrying a thumb drive with "malicious malware." According to court documents, Yujing Zhang told security officials Saturday she was a member who wanted to use the pool at the Florida resort, and she was allowed in due to "a potential language barrier issue." The Secret Service got involved after a receptionist became suspicious, the BBC reports. Agent Samuel Ivanovich says Zhang didn't have a swimsuit with her—but she was carrying two passports, four cellphones, a laptop, a hard drive, and a thumb drive with malware on it.

Authorities say that after entering the club, Zhang changed her story and claimed she was there for a nonexistent United Nations Chinese American Association event that evening. Charging documents state that she became "verbally aggressive" when the Secret Service questioned her. The 32-year-old is in custody, charged with making false statements to federal agents and illegally entering a restricted area, the AP reports. Laurence Leamer, author of a book on Mar-a-Lago, tells the Washington Post that Zhang would have had the run of the club if she had made it past the receptionist. "You can go anywhere. You're in the living room," he says. "There’s no checkpoints once you’re in there." President Trump was golfing nearby at the time but officials do not believe he encountered Zhang. (Read more Mar-a-Lago stories.)

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