Yujing Zhang hacked her way into Donald Trump's private Florida club Mar-A-Lago with social engineering skills any self-respecting DEFCON or HOPE attendee would recognize.
Federal prosecutors allege in court documents the 32 year old Chinese woman lied to Secret Service agents, and told them she was a club member going to the pool.
According to the feds, at the moment she was lying to Secret Service agents, Yujing Zhang was carrying on her person:
• Two Chinese passports
• Four (4!) cellphones
• One laptop
• One external hard drive
• One USB thumb drive containing malware.
• She had no swimsuit.
The Secret Service agents apparently believed her. She briefly gained access to the club during the President's visit there this weekend.
From the Associated Press:
Agents say she wasn't on the membership list, but a club manager thought Zhang was the daughter of a member. Agents say that when they asked Zhang if the member was her father, she did not answer definitively but they thought it might be a language barrier and admitted her.
Zhang's story changed when she got inside, agents say, telling a front desk receptionist she was there to attend the United Nations Chinese American Association event scheduled for that evening. No such event was scheduled and agents were summoned.
Agent Samuel Ivanovich wrote in court documents that Zhang told him that she was there for the Chinese American event and had come early to familiarize herself with the club and take photos, again contradicting what she had said at the checkpoint. She showed him an invitation in Chinese that he could not read.
He said Zhang was taken off the grounds and told she could not be there. Ivanovich said she became argumentative, so she was taken to the local Secret Service office for questioning.
There, he said, it became clear Zhang speaks and reads English well. He said Zhang said she had traveled from Shanghai to attend the nonexistent Mar-a-Lago event on the invitation of an acquaintance named "Charles," whom she only knew through a Chinese social media app. Ivanovich said she then denied telling the checkpoint agents she was a member wanting to swim.
"While the Secret Service does not determine who is permitted to enter the club, our agents and officers conduct physical screenings to ensure no prohibited items are allowed onto the property," the U.S. Secret Service told reporters today.
"This access does not afford an individual proximity to the President or other Secret Service protectees. In such instances, additional screening and security measures are employed."
Zhang faces charges of making false statements to federal agents and illegally entering a restricted area. She is in jail, and her hearing is next week. Her public defender, Robert Adler, declined comment to AP.
There is no indication Zhang was ever near the president. There is also no indication that she is connected to Li Yang, a Chinese native, Republican donor and former Florida massage parlor owner.
Well okay then.
The terrifying thing to imagine here is this: She was clueless and bumbling, and got caught. How many professional intelligence agents or state-affiliated espionage agents have made it in, and achieved their goals? How many pro spies don't we know about?
Read the full AP story:
Chinese woman carrying malware allegedly got into Mar-a-Lago
[via Ken Vogel]