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"Gaping hole" for foreign espionage at Trump's Mar-a-Lago, former CIA officer says

"Gaping hole" for espionage at Mar-a-Lago?
"Gaping hole" for foreign espionage at Trump's Mar-a-Lago, ex-CIA officer says 03:20

West Palm Beach, Fla. -- A woman from China, accused of illegally entering President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, is due in court Monday. The Secret Service said Yujing Zhang reached the reception desk before she was stopped last month. She was allegedly carrying two Chinese passports, four cellphones, and a thumb drive full of malicious software.

The purpose of the hearing Monday is to determine if Zhang should be released on bond, reports CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez. Federal prosecutors believe she's a flight risk. Her arrest has raised concerns about foreign agents infiltrating Mar-a-Lago.

Mr. Trump defended the security measures at Mar-a-Lago, his so-called "winter White House."

"No, I'm not concerned at all. I have -- we have very good control," Mr. Trump said.

Last weekend, Zhang, claiming to speak limited English, apparently bluffed her way past two Secret Service checkpoints. She was finally foiled by a receptionist at the resort's main building.

"I think that was just a fluke situation and I think that the person sitting at the front desk did a very good job," Mr. Trump said.

Zhang told a judge last week she was in the U.S. for business. She claims to be an investment consultant, drives a BMW, and owns a house in China worth about $1.3 million. 

"If you are there for legitimate business reasons, it seems odd that you would have malware on your thumb drive, right?" said former CIA officer Lisa Ruth. She said Zhang's explanation for being at Mar-a-Lago rings hollow.

"This looks very much like a Chinese espionage intelligence operation," Ruth said.

The president was at his nearby golf course when Zhang was arrested. According to federal prosecutors, Zhang claimed she was meeting a friend named "Charles" at Mar-a-Lago for an event organized by the United Nations Chinese American Association. That group was reportedly founded by a man named Charles Lee. According to the Miami Herald, Lee and another woman, Cindy Yang, often promoted events at Mar-a-Lago as a way for China's elites to gain access to the president.

Yang also said she is the former owner of a chain of massage parlors that prosecutors now allege are really brothels. One of the purported clients at a parlor she formerly owned is New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a good friend of the president's and a frequent visitor to Mar-a-Lago.

Ruth said the exclusive resort, which charges a $200,000 initiation fee, is a "gaping hole" for foreign intelligence services.

"Certainly President Trump is the biggest target, but there's a lot of other people at Mar-a-Lago who have access or information or intelligence," Ruth said. "You have seasonal employees who are certainly not cleared like a White House employee is going to be. Recruit any of them and you've got a lot of information."

Zhang has been charged with lying to federal agents and entering a restricted building. She is not expected to enter a plea until her arraignment next week. Yang's representatives have said she does not know Zhang and that Lee is only an acquaintance.

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