It’s unknown why former president Donald Trump stored sensitive government records at his Mar-a-Lago club, but in recent years, even longstanding club members expressed concern about the patrons.
Former intelligence officials claimed that members, visitors, and staff could have all been targets for foreign spies at the Palm Beach resort where the former president hosts nightly disco parties where guests unknowingly danced and drank mere feet away from thousands of government documents, including nuclear secrets and other extremely sensitive material, according to The Guardian.
Since Trump became president and started using the facility as the “winter White House,” security has been an issue. A teenager managed to get past security in 2018, two Chinese women were detained for trespassing with questionable electronic devices, and a Ukrainian-born woman who met the former president last year while posing as a member of the Rothschild family met with him in 2018.
“The club used to be serious money, serious players in business, some really big players through the years have been members,” said one longtime member. “The new members of the club are a little bit MAGA. It’s very eclectic, a lot of foreigners, people that have made money in cryptocurrency, Oklahoma, fracking money. It looks more like the menagerie at the Trump Hotel in Washington.”
This member noticed the foreigners in particular since she didn’t remember seeing many of them before to Trump’s election as president.
“A lot of different people there that they didn’t really have before,” that member said. “You’ll have Chinese people, you’ll have maybe some additional Arab people.”
The club employs 80 to 90 foreign workers annually, and despite their thorough screening, they could be a security risk.
“The fact that four years ago, the Secret Service vetted the guy who serves Trump Diet Coke 12 times a day, doesn’t mean that that guy is invulnerable to a $200,000 payment from a foreign intelligence agency,” said Frank Figliuzzi, who is a former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence.
Figliuzzi was more worried about the security risk that club members and their visitors posed.
“Who are these members? Who’s vetting them?” Figliuzzi said. “If you have the requisite money and you plunk it down, it appears you’re a member. And now here come your family members and guests and their cousins and their in-laws, and is it really possible for the Secret Service to even begin to think that they could vet the guest side of the house?”