In a statement, a law enforcement official speaking on background said that anytime the agency does a forensic analysis on an electronic device, it is done in a controlled environment and on a stand-alone computer, not a Secret Service network computer. She was arrested after agents determined she had no legitimate reason to be at the club, a business owned by Trump. Once she got to the reception desk, she allegedly changed her story, saying she was there for a United Nations Chinese American Association event. She is charged with lying to a federal agent and illegal entering.
Yujing Zhang is charged with lying to a federal officer and entering restricted property, the Palm Beach estate, on March 30.
"There are several things about the process that she went through that don't make sense", said Turner. He pointed out that Zhang made no attempt to hide her electronic gear while entering Mar-a-Lago and agreed to be interviewed for nearly nine hours. There, a Secret Service agent testified that the malware Zhang carried was capable of infecting a computer as soon as the thumb drive was plugged in.
The Secret Service spoke with her - and she answered them - in English during more than four hours of questions, Ivanovich said.
Matthewman decided that Zhang's pretrial detention hearing would resume on April 15, when she also would be arraigned.
Zhang, 32, briefly gained entrance to Donald Trump's Florida club and was found carrying a thumb drive containing malware, two Chinese passports and four cell phones. He said that not only did Zhang falsely tell a Secret Service agent at a Mar-a-Lago checkpoint that she was a member there to use the pool, even though she had no swimsuit, she told agents she was carrying her computer gear because she was afraid the items would be stolen if she left them in her hotel room. Agents found no swimsuit in her possession. 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 is a common Chinese name - about 7 percent of the country's population carries it. Knowing there was no such event planned, the receptionist summoned federal agents. A forensic examination of the USB stick found evidence that it contained malicious software, Ivanovich said.
Monday's testimony from the Secret Service raises questions about the security practices that the agency takes in protecting its computers against malware infections. It suggests that the agent connected the drive to the same computer used for official Secret Service work.
AutoRun USB drives are a tool oft-used by security consultants hired to test the physical security of an office space.
President Trump has described the Zhang case as a "fluke situation", but the case so far has highlighted the possibility of security flaws Trump's private club.
Thumb drives have always been used as ways to surreptitiously infect computers.
Expect more scrutiny of the event, the resulting investigation, and the lax policies that led to the breach to continue, possibly for months to come.