A Chinese citizen was arrested over the weekend for allegedly breaching security at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort — and the details surrounding the suspected intrusion are extremely suspicious.
The Chinese woman was identified as 32-year-old Yujing Zhang. And, allegedly, she had four cellphones, Chinese passports, a signal detector, $8,000 in cash, and a USB drive containing malware on her person when she gained access to Mar-a-Lago, the Secret Service told CNN.
Zhang approached a Secret Service checkpoint outside Mar-a-Lago and said she was a member who wanted to use the pool, according to court documents. (No swimsuit was found in possession.) Those agents noted that she wasn’t on the membership, but a club employee thought she may be the daughter of a member who shared the same last name.
When Secret Service agents asked her if the member was her father, she didn’t answer the question. They attributed that to a potential language barrier issue and let her in. Later, Zhang changed her story — saying she was there for a non-existent event.
Eventually, agents arrested her for illegally gaining access to the club and lying to federal agents. One agent noted that she was able to converse in English “freely and without difficulty.” After agents notified her that she breached security, she reportedly became “verbally aggressive.”
That’s not the end of the strangeness, either. At a court hearing on Monday, a Secret Service agent who interviewed Zhang on the day of her arrest said he plugged one of her USB drives into his computer.
According to The Miami Herald, the agent, Samuel Ivanovich, said the thumb drive immediately began to install files, a “very out-of-the-ordinary” occurrence.
Beyond the potential for espionage, the alleged intrusion raises some serious questions about the security practices of the Secret Service agents at the club that day.
For one, it’s questionable why they’d admit a woman without any access credentials who was carrying a suspicious amount of electronics in the first place. It’s also odd that secret service agent would simply plug a random flash drive into his computer without any forensic protocols.
President Donald Trump was staying at the resort during the alleged security breach, but sources say he was not on the property.