Mar-a-Lago: the lax security of Trump’s alternative ‘White House’ – visualized

TookEven before FBI agents found highly classified documents near public areas of Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort that Donald Trump calls home, several other eyebrow-raising incidents have raised concerns over the property’s security.

These include everything from a Chinese citizen looking over Trump’s shoulder on a laptop displaying top secret information about North Koreans to multiple mobile phone and computer malware making it through a Secret Service checkpoint, a fake heir to photos with the former president. Dinner is included. missile launch.

Trump branded his waterfront mansion – built in the 1920s for cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post – his “winter White House” for the duration of his single term in office.

Given Mar-a-Lago’s status as a private club, however, with open access for (mainly unproven) members and paying guests in almost every corner of the main buildings and the nearby beach club , in a way in which it can never match the real White House: security.

Satellite map of Mar-a-Lago annotated with locations of leaks.


1 Boxes of classified documents at the bottom of the Great Hall

April 2022: FBI agents find boxes of secret and classified documents in a basement “storage area” below the Great Hall, the public center of the Mar-a-Lago resort.

Trump speaks during a video teleconference at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Photograph: Andrew Harnick / AP

2 Summit with Chinese President in front of guests

April 2017: Trump holds an “international summit” with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the living area of ​​the Great Hall in full view of resort members and paying guests.

Trump and Melania Trump welcome Xi Jinping and Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump and Melania Trump welcome Xi Jinping and Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan at Mar-a-Lago. Photograph: Carlos Barria / Reuters

3 Chinese national detained with malware in lobby

April 2019: Chinese national Yujing Zhang is detained in the lobby after passing through Secret Service security in possession of four cellphones and flash drives containing malware (malicious software designed to infiltrate computers for nefarious purposes). She was getting a golf cart ride to the club.

Mar-a-Lago's entrance.
Mar-a-Lago’s entrance. Photograph: Joe Redl/Getty Images

4 Discussion on North Korea’s missile crisis in the dining room

February 2017: Trump discusses the North Korean missile crisis in the resort’s open-air dining room in the company of then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, perusing classified material on laptops viewed by diners and waiters.

Shinzo Abe and his wife, Aki Abe, attend dinner with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
Shinzo Abe and his wife, Aki Abe, attend dinner with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Photograph: Carlos Barria / Reuters

5 ‘Fake successor’ scam artist gets photographed by Poole

May 2021: Ukraine’s fake heiress and alleged charity scammer Inna Yashchishin gains access to Mar-a-Lago, photographed by the swimming pool and, later, with Trump and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina at the nearby Trump International Golf Club .

An aerial view of Mar-a-Lago.
An aerial view of Mar-a-Lago. Photograph: Marco Bello/Reuters

6 Boxes of documents found in Trump’s bedroom

August 2022: FBI agents search Trump’s bedroom inside his private quarters at Mar-a-Lago, one of three areas targeted according to an affidavit supporting the search warrant application. It is not known what was found there.

7 Temporary ‘status room’ in non-secured office

April 2017: Trump sets up a “status room” in an office to monitor US missile attacks on Syria. Analysts noted the unsafe set-up and the presence of officials with no regard for national security.

In this image provided by the White House, Donald Trump receives a briefing on Syria's military offensive at a secure location in Mar-a-Lago.
In this image provided by the White House, Donald Trump receives a briefing on Syria’s military offensive at a secure location in Mar-a-Lago. Photograph: Sheila Craighead / AP

8 Top Secret Folder Found Above the Grand Ballroom

August 2022: FBI agents discover dozens of highly classified and top secret folders in an office in a converted bridal suite above the Grand Ballroom. Some papers are found stuffed in the drawer of a desk.

Grand Ballroom.
Grand Ballroom. Photograph: Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

9 The trespasser successfully enters through the beach club tunnel

November 2018: Student Mark Lindblom arrested on charges of trespassing after entering the resort through a tunnel connecting Mar-a-Lago to his beach club, passing through security and mingling with guests has gone. Lindblom tells a judge: “I wanted to see how far I could go.”

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