National Security

Schiff presses intel leaders for details on how Chinese woman gained unauthorized access to Mar-a-Lago

The head of the House Intelligence Committee is pressing top U.S. intelligence officials to provide information on the arrest of a Chinese woman who reportedly gained unauthorized entry to Mar-a-Lago while carrying two passports and a thumb drive containing malicious software.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Wednesday wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Secret Service Director Randolph Alles asking for more information about Yujing Zhang’s entry into President Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, Florida, according to a copy obtained by The Hill.

“The incident with Ms. Zhang raises grave counterintelligence and other concerns,” Schiff wrote to the three intelligence leaders, pointing to press reports. {mosads}

“Access to the club could allow agents of foreign governments to collect valuable information on those with access to President Trump or conduct any of several other intelligence collection or influence operations,” he added.

Schiff raised a series of questions in his letter, including whether the FBI has more information on the matter than public reports, whether Zhang has ties to the Chinese government, whether the intelligence community knows about attempts to conduct influence operations using the access to the property, whether hostile nation-states are using Trump’s businesses as a pathway to get close to individuals in the president’s inner circle, how the intelligence agencies are screening people entering Mar-a-Lago and how they are protecting classified information reviewed at the club, among others.

His letter comes after prosecutors claimed Zhang gave a series of conflicting explanations for why she was trying to gain entry into Mar-a-Lago, first claiming she wanted to use the pool and then later telling a receptionist she was there for a meeting of the United Nations Chinese American Association.

Zhang at times did not provide answers, but she was initially let onto the property because she shares the same last name as someone who is a member of the exclusive club.

“Due to a potential language barrier issue, Mar-a-Lago believed her to be the relative of member Zhang and allowed her access onto the property,” according to court documents.

A Secret Service agent, during questioning, found that she could converse in English and notified her that she has “unlawfully gained access onto the protected grounds,” according to the document filed in court.

“During this interview, Zhang then became verbally aggressive with agents and she was detained and transported back to the United States Secret Service – West Palm Beach Resident Office,” the court files say.

Federal authorities are now probing whether Chinese intelligence services have targeted Trump by attempting to gain access to Mar-a-Lago, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

These same authorities are also reportedly investigating Li “Cindy” Yang, a Florida-based entrepreneur who came under scrutiny after New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with allegedly soliciting prostitution at a massage parlor that she founded.

Yang has promoted events at the the president’s club in an effort to get Chinese executives access to Trump, according to reports.

Following news of Zhang’s arrest, Senate Democrats have also pressed the FBI to investigate possible security vulnerabilities at Trump-owned properties.

Trump on Wednesday said he is “not concerned” about security at his Florida property after the incident with Zhang, calling it a “fluke.”

Tags Adam Schiff Dan Coats Donald Trump

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