Secret Service Issues Rare Statement After Security Breach at Trump Resort: 'We Do Not Determine Who Is Invited or Welcome to Mar-a-Lago'

The Mar-a-Lago estate of President Donald Trump is pictured. A Chinese woman breached security at the resort. Saul Martinez/Getty Images

The U.S. Secret Service has deflected the blame for a security breach that allowed a Chinese woman onto the premises of President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

The agency's statement comes amid ongoing concerns about how secure the president and his advisers are during their frequent stays at the Florida resort, which is open for its members and their guests even when Trump is there.

Last Saturday, Yujing Zhang, 32, managed to get through security checkpoints at the resort and reached the main reception before being arrested, CBS reported.

In the statement, released Tuesday, the Secret Service said it was the resort's management that decides who gets access to the property.

It said that in this instance, the woman was physically screened twice after she entered the property, which is the typical procedure.

After she was screened at the second checkpoint, she was arrested after the resort's reception said she should not have been granted access. There is no indication that Zhang got close to the president.

The statement said: "The Secret Service does not determine who is invited or welcome at Mar-a-Lago; this is the responsibility of the host entity. The Mar-a-Lago club management determines which members and guests are granted access to the property. This access does not afford an individual proximity to the President or other Secret Service protectees.

It added, "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."

When Zhang was stopped and questioned, she was found with four cellphones, a laptop, a hard drive and a thumb drive, which contained "malicious malware," according to the criminal complaint.

She is charged with making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and entering a restricted area, the complaint says.

Laurence Leamer, a Palm Beach writer who has written a book about Mar-a-Lago, told The Washington Post that once a guest goes past the reception desk, he or she would have access to the club's "living room," patio and pool area.

He said a guest could not enter Trump's private quarters but could probably walk past the door to it. "You can go anywhere. You're in the living room. There are no checkpoints once you're in there," he added, noting that Trump's private quarters are in the middle of the busy grounds.

Leamer continued: "How can the president of the United States be spending his weekends in this club with all these people coming in and out? I thought inevitably something was going to happen. And thank God it was a fairly benign thing."

A security source told the newspaper that when Trump is at the resort, all people in the reception area is questioned about who they are and where they were going.

Others who have hosted events at the resort said that they had to submit guest lists days ahead of time and were surprised at how easily Zhang breached the club's perimeter.