Mar-a-Lago Arrest Raises Espionage, Security Concerns

Minnie Murray
April 6, 2019

During a search she was found to be carrying two Chinese passports, four phones, a laptop and a USB stick containing computer malware, according to a court complaint.

Senate Democrats are asking the FBI to investigate potential security vulnerabilities at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida after the arrest of a woman carrying two Chinese passports and a device containing computer malware.

Zhang then told the front-desk receptionist that she was attending a "United Nations Chinese American Association" event. In recent years she has promoted herself as a path of access to the USA president, his family, and other decision-makers. That came from Mar-a-Lago or Trump directly. The Justice Department said Zhang was carrying two Chinese passports, and prosecutors have charged her with making a false statement to a federal officer and entering restricted property.

Meanwhile, the FBI's Counterintelligence Division in South Florida is looking into who Zhang is and whether she has any links to Chinese intelligence, according to the Miami Herald.

And on Wednesday, Trump said he was "not concerned".

Zhang faces a charge of trespassing and a charge of lying to federal agents for that attempt.

A federal prosecutor called Zhang "an extreme risk of flight" and said she had no ties to the U.S. or Palm Beach area, according to audio of her court hearing Monday, obtained by CNN.

Following the suspect's first court appearance on Monday, some security observers and elected officials started raising red flags about the type of access to President Donald Trump and his inner circle individuals have when he's at his private club.

"I think as to whether I would see any significant difference or trend there, or whether it's changing, I think I would say in general, domestic terrorism in this country has changed in the sense that it is less structured, less organized, fewer groups, more uncoordinated one-off individuals as opposed to some structured hierarchy, and that presents its own share of challenges", Mr. Wray added. They said the incident, in their words, "raises very serious questions regarding security vulnerabilities at Mar-a-Lago, which foreign intelligence services have reportedly targeted".

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