The Corner

National Security & Defense

Espionage Is Supposed to Be More Difficult Than This

Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Back in the 1970s, the CIA developed what we would now call a drone that was designed to be disguised as a dragonfly, called the “Insectothopter.” According to Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs, from Communism to al-Qaeda, there is a DARPA model of a similar surveillance device no larger than horsefly.

The Chinese woman who was arrested after gaining entry to President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort almost succeeded with a much simpler approach: Just carry around a thumb drive and wait for the authorities who arrest you to plug it into their computers.

The Secret Service agent who questioned Ms. Zhang after her arrest, Samuel Ivanovich, said during testimony that she did not carry any lock-picking or eavesdropping gear. His four-and-a-half hour interrogation of Ms. Zhang was recorded by video, Mr. Ivanovich said, but it lacked sound because he didn’t realize that the agency’s office in Palm Beach didn’t have that capability.

Mr. Ivanovich testified that the computer analyst who reviewed Ms. Zhang’s devices said that the thumb drive she was carrying had immediately begun installing a program on his computer.

“He stated that he had to immediately stop the analysis and shut off his computer to halt the corruption,” Mr. Ivanovich said.

First, who outfits an interrogation room with video recording but not audio recording?

Second, what computer analyst puts a thumb drive from a suspected spy into a computer and doesn’t expect malware?

Securing a site like Mar-a-Lago is no doubt extremely difficult: It’s large and involves many members of the public coming and going. But this incident is rather embarrassing for the Secret Service, and probably is a factor in the impending change in leadership.

Finally, can we bring back the Insectothopters? If nothing else, it would be fun to watch America’s enemies growing paranoid that every dragonfly or horsefly around them is secretly watching and listening to them.

Most Popular

White House

Trump and the ‘Racist Tweets’

What does “racist” even mean anymore? Racism is the headline on President Trump’s Sunday tweets -- the media-Democrat complex assiduously describes them as “racist tweets” as if that were a fact rather than a trope. I don’t think they were racist; I think they were abjectly stupid. Like many ... Read More
White House

The Trump Steamroller

As we settle into high summer and the period of maximum difficulty in finding anything to fill in hours of television news, especially 24/7 news television, two well-established political trends are emerging in this pre-electoral period: The president’s opponents continue to dig themselves into foxholes that ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More

Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More