An American couple was arrested on Saturday by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) on espionage charges. According to an indictment, Jonathan Toebbe, who worked for the Navy, sold secret information about the design of nuclear-powered warships. According to the indictment, he did so with the help of his wife Diana.
Thats what the US news site NBC Washington writes.
Jonathan Toebbe, from Annapolis, Maryland, placed the secret data on SD cards and hid it in a peanut butter sandwich, in a patch pack and in a pack of gum. He then left the carefully hidden tickets in arranged places in Western Virginia, Pennsylvania and Eastern Virginia, as stated in the indictment.
He sold the data to a person he thought was a foreign government representative. The country is not named in the indictment. In reality, Toebbe had no contact with a foreign government, but with an undercover agent of the FBI.
Toebbe was working on the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, authorities said. He had access to top secret data through the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
On April 1, 2020, Jonathan Toebbe sent a packet of secret data explaining how more information could be purchased, a prosecutor claims in a statement.
Months of Correspondence with Undercover Agent
To gain Toebbes trust, the FBI conducted an operation last weekend in the Washington, D.C. area, where a small station was placed at a foreign government location that Toebbe believed to be corresponded with it for months.
Toebbe later reached an agreement with the undercover agent to transfer the secret information in exchange for thousands of dollars in the cryptocurrency Monero, the indictment states.
Toebe would have dropped SD cards at intervals of about a month at intervals of about a month. The first delivery took place on June 26th in West Virginia. The transfer of the other SD cards was on July 31st, in a sealed patch pack. And on August 28 in a pack of gum. His wife Diana Toebbe was reportedly on the lookout.
The FBI arrested Jonathan and Diana Toebbe last Saturday in Jefferson County after Jonathan left another SD card in an agreed spot.
“Toebbe is being sued for providing information about our nuclear submarines to a foreign country,” says Attorney General Merrick Garland in a press release.
“Jonathan and Diana Toebbe are indicted for alleged violations of the Atomic Energy Act. The couple is due for the first time in court in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on Tuesday.
Its not yet clear if the couple has already taken up a lawyer.