Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort posed rare security challenges, experts say



By Steve Holland and Karen Freifeld

WASHINGTON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - The seizure of classified U.S. government documents from Donald Trump's sprawling Mar-a-Lago retreat spotlights the ongoing national security concerns presented by the former president, and the home he dubbed the Winter White House, some security experts say.

Trump is under federal investigation for possible violations of the Espionage Act, which makes it unlawful to spy for another country or mishandle U.S. defense information, including sharing it with people not authorized to receive it, a search warrant shows.

As president, Trump sometimes shared information, regardless of its sensitivity. Early in his presidency, he spontaneously gave highly classified information to Russia’s foreign minister about a planned Islamic State operation while he was in the Oval Office, U.S. officials said at the time. But it was at Mar-a-Lago, where well-heeled members and guests attended weddings and fundraising dinners and frolicked on a breezy ocean patio, that U.S. intelligence seemed especially at risk.

The Secret Service said when Trump was president that it does not determine who is granted access to the club, but does do physical screenings to make sure no one brings in prohibited items, and further screening for guests in proximity to the president and other protectees.

The Justice Department’s search warrant raises concerns about national security, said former DOJ official Mary McCord.

"Clearly they thought it was very serious to get these materials back into secured space," McCord said. "Even just retention of highly classified documents in improper storage - particularly given Mar-a-Lago, the foreign visitors there and others who might have connections with foreign governments and foreign agents - creates a significant national security threat."

Trump, in a statement on his social media platform, said the records were "all declassified" and placed in "secure storage."

McCord said, however, she saw no "plausible argument that he had made a conscious decision about each one of these to declassify them before he left." After leaving office, she said, he did not have the power to declassify information.

Monday's seizure by FBI agents of multiple sets of documents and dozens of boxes, including information about U.S. defense and a reference to the "French President," poses a frightening scenario for intelligence professionals.

"It's a nightmarish environment for a careful handling of highly classified information," said a former U.S. intelligence officer. "It's just a nightmare."

The DOJ hasn't provided specific information about how or where the documents and photos had been stored, but the club's general vulnerabilities have been well documented.

In a high profile example, Trump huddled in 2017 with Japan's then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at an outdoor dinner table while guests hovered nearby, listening and taking photos that they later posted on Twitter.

The dinner was disrupted by a North Korean missile test, and guests listened as Trump and Abe figured out what to say in response. After issuing a statement, Trump dropped by a wedding party at the club.

"What we saw was Trump be so lax in security that he was having a sensitive meeting regarding a potential war topic where non-U.S. government personnel could observe and photograph," said Mark Zaid, a lawyer who specializes in national security cases. "It would have been easy for someone to also have had a device that heard and recorded what Trump was saying as well."

The White House press secretary at the time of the Abe visit, Sean Spicer, told reporters afterward that Trump had been briefed about the North Korean launch in a secure room at Mar-a-Lago. He played down the scene on the patio.

"At that time, apparently there was a photo taken, which everyone jumped to nefarious conclusions about what may or may not be discussed. There was simply a discussion about press logistics, where to host the event," he said.

It was in the secure room at Mar-a-Lago where Trump decided to launch airstrikes against Syria for the use of chemical weapons in April 2017.

The decision made, Trump repaired to dinner with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping. Over a dessert of chocolate cake, Trump informed Xi about the airstrikes.

In 2019, a Chinese woman who passed security checkpoints at the club carrying a thumb drive coded with “malicious” software was arrested for entering a restricted property and making false statements to officials, authorities said at the time.

Then-White House chief of staff John Kelly launched an effort to try to limit who had access to Trump at Mar-a-Lago, but the effort fizzled when Trump refused to cooperate, aides said at the time.



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Reporting By Steve Holland and Karen Freifeld; Editing by Heather Timmons, William Mallard and Daniel Wallis

دستبرداری: XM Group کے ادارے ہماری آن لائن تجارت کی سہولت تک صرف عملدرآمد کی خدمت اور رسائی مہیا کرتے ہیں، کسی شخص کو ویب سائٹ پر یا اس کے ذریعے دستیاب کانٹینٹ کو دیکھنے اور/یا استعمال کرنے کی اجازت دیتا ہے، اس پر تبدیل یا توسیع کا ارادہ نہیں ہے ، اور نہ ہی یہ تبدیل ہوتا ہے یا اس پر وسعت کریں۔ اس طرح کی رسائی اور استعمال ہمیشہ مشروط ہوتا ہے: (i) شرائط و ضوابط؛ (ii) خطرہ انتباہات؛ اور (iii) مکمل دستبرداری۔ لہذا اس طرح کے مواد کو عام معلومات سے زیادہ کے طور پر فراہم کیا جاتا ہے۔ خاص طور پر، براہ کرم آگاہ رہیں کہ ہماری آن لائن تجارت کی سہولت کے مندرجات نہ تو کوئی درخواست ہے، اور نہ ہی فنانشل مارکیٹ میں کوئی لین دین داخل کرنے کی پیش کش ہے۔ کسی بھی فنانشل مارکیٹ میں تجارت میں آپ کے سرمائے کے لئے ایک خاص سطح کا خطرہ ہوتا ہے۔

ہماری آن لائن تجارتی سہولت پر شائع ہونے والے تمام مٹیریل کا مقصد صرف تعلیمی/معلوماتی مقاصد کے لئے ہے، اور اس میں شامل نہیں ہے — اور نہ ہی اسے فنانشل، سرمایہ کاری ٹیکس یا تجارتی مشورے اور سفارشات؛ یا ہماری تجارتی قیمتوں کا ریکارڈ؛ یا کسی بھی فنانشل انسٹرومنٹ میں لین دین کی پیشکش؛ یا اسکے لئے مانگ؛ یا غیر متنازعہ مالی تشہیرات پر مشتمل سمجھا جانا چاہئے۔

کوئی تھرڈ پارٹی کانٹینٹ، نیز XM کے ذریعہ تیار کردہ کانٹینٹ، جیسے: راۓ، خبریں، تحقیق، تجزیہ، قیمتیں اور دیگر معلومات یا اس ویب سائٹ پر مشتمل تھرڈ پارٹی کے سائٹس کے لنکس کو "جیسے ہے" کی بنیاد پر فراہم کیا جاتا ہے، عام مارکیٹ کی تفسیر کے طور پر، اور سرمایہ کاری کے مشورے کو تشکیل نہ دیں۔ اس حد تک کہ کسی بھی کانٹینٹ کو سرمایہ کاری کی تحقیقات کے طور پر سمجھا جاتا ہے، آپ کو نوٹ کرنا اور قبول کرنا ہوگا کہ یہ کانٹینٹ سرمایہ کاری کی تحقیق کی آزادی کو فروغ دینے کے لئے ڈیزائن کردہ قانونی تقاضوں کے مطابق نہیں ہے اور تیار نہیں کیا گیا ہے، اسی طرح، اس پر غور کیا جائے گا بطور متعلقہ قوانین اور ضوابط کے تحت مارکیٹنگ مواصلات۔ براہ کرم یقینی بنائیں کہ آپ غیر آزاد سرمایہ کاری سے متعلق ہماری اطلاع کو پڑھ اور سمجھ چکے ہیں۔ مذکورہ بالا معلومات کے بارے میں تحقیق اور رسک وارننگ ، جس تک رسائی یہاں حاصل کی جا سکتی ہے۔

ہم کوکیز کا استعمال آپکو ہماری ویب سائٹ پر بہتریں تجربہ دینے کیلیے کرتے ہیں۔ مزید پڑھیے یا اپنی کوکی سیٹنگ تبدیل کیجیے۔

خطرے کی انتباہ: آپکا سرمایہ خطرے پر ہے۔ ہو سکتا ہے کہ لیورج پروڈکٹ سب کیلیے موزوں نہ ہوں۔ براہ کرم ہمارے مکمل رسک ڈسکلوژر کو پڑھیے۔