Attorney: Mar-a-Lago infiltrator had hidden-camera detector

Alfred Osborne
April 11, 2019

She is charged with lying to a federal agent and illegal entering.

Zhang was discovered to have a thumb drive with malware, as well as a laptop, an external hard drive and four cell phones. Federal officials are looking into whether the incursion was part of a larger effort to gain access to the president and do potential harm. Monday's detention hearing was held in the Florida courtroom to determine whether she should be released on bond.

This may well be the case - but it says something troubling about the state of our national security if someone who is not a sanctioned and trained spy, who made such elementary mistakes in the course of intelligence gathering, was nonetheless able to briefly infiltrate a facility that frequently plays host to the President of the United States.

According to testimony presented Monday, Yujing Zhang's hotel room had a signal detector and additional suspicious possessions in it.

Adler said there were several problems with the U.S.

A golf cart shuttle driver then took her to the club's main reception area, where Zhang claimed she was to attend a "United Nations Chinese American Association" event, and then told a Secret Service agent a "United Nations Friendship Event" on the premises - neither of which existed.

Zhang's arrest has raised questions about the Secret Service agency's ability to protect the president and his family at Mar-a-Lago.

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Adler said the answers government officials interpret as lies may have resulted from language barrier issues. A club manager believed she was related to a club member who shared the same last name.

Inside, they say she told a front-desk clerk she was there for a nonexistent Chinese American event. At that point, the receptionist alerted Ivanovich.

Zhang arrived in Newark on a flight from Shanghai on March 28, Garcia said.

Zhang told law enforcement she carried so many electronic devices into Mar-a-Lago because she didn't want to leave them in her hotel room. Prosecutors said that a search of her hotel room had revealed nine USB drives, five sim cards, a fifth mobile phone, $8,000 in cash and a "signal detector radio frequency device", which could be used to detect eavesdropping equipment such as hidden cameras.

Speaking at the Monday bail hearing in West Palm Beach, Florida, prosecutor Rolando Garcia said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is still investigating whether Zhang is a spy. "The only thing Ms Zhang did was give a common name and she was allowed onto the property", Mr Adler said. After the receptionist confirmed no such event was scheduled to take place, Secret Service agents questioned her. She showed the passports as identification.

The Miami Herald has previously reported that Lee sold travel packages to Chinese customers that included tickets to Mar-a-Lago events. He stated that when another agent put Zhang's thumb-drive into his computer, it immediately began to install files, a "very out-of-the-ordinary" event that he had never seen happen before during this kind of analysis. Agents said they couldn't read it because it was written in Chinese.

Audio and video surveillance at Mar-a-Lago didn't catch Zhang's entrance to the club - because those surveillance devices weren't used by the Secret Service at the entry checkpoint. But the event had been canceled. She claims she had flown to the United States from Shanghai two days earlier to promote Chinese-American business relations - but federal authorities aren't buying it. If convicted, Zhang faces a maximum five-year prison sentence.

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