The Department of Justice announced Sunday that a Navy nuclear technician with access to classified secret information faces serious accusations.
These accusations say he attempted to pass information about the implementation of American nuclear-powered submarines to someone he assumed was a delegate of a foreign government; however, this individual turned out to be a covert FBI agent.
The FBI Seems to be Doing Its Job Properly Again
According to charging documents outlining subterfuge allegations against Jonathan Toebbe, he sold data to a source he thought represented a foreign state for over a year. The court filings did not mention that country.
Toebbe, 42, and his wife, Diana, 45, were detained in West Virginia on Saturday. This occurred after he dropped a detachable memory stick at a designated “dead drop” in the state, as per the U.S. Department of Justice.
It was unclear whether the Toebbes, who are from Annapolis, Maryland, have retained legal counsel. The Navy did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
FBI says it has arrested American husband-and-wife spy team, charged with selling classified information 'concerning the design of nuclear powered warships.' Criminal complaint here: https://t.co/BQ2CqxQXQz pic.twitter.com/hrR5akLJVW
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 11, 2021
According to the FBI, the plan started in April 2020. This is when Jonathan Toebbe sent a bundle of Navy records to a foreign nation. Toebbe stated he was eager to sell operational instructions, progress reports, and other confidential material to that country.
Authorities say he also gave directions on how to carry out the secret relationship in a letter that read: “Please accept my apologies for the terrible translation into your own tongue. This message should be forwarded to your military intelligence agency. This knowledge, I believe, will be extremely beneficial to your country. This isn’t a ruse.”
Last December, the FBI got that parcel (which had a mailing address in Pittsburgh) through its legal attache office in an unidentified foreign country. This resulted in a months-long undercover investigation.
During this investigation, an officer acting as a member of a foreign government contacted Toebbe; he then agreed to pay thousands of dollars in bitcoin in exchange for the information Toebbe was promising.
The undercover agent allegedly gave $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Toebbe in June, characterizing it as a demonstration of good faith and trust, according to the FBI.
The U.S. arrested a Navy Department employee and his wife on spying-related charges after they allegedly sold restricted data on nuclear-powered submarines to an FBI agent posing as a foreign official https://t.co/j1BKvUkeuh
— Bloomberg (@business) October 10, 2021
This Would Have Been Bad if the Agent Wasn’t Involved
Federal investigators watched the Toebbes come to an agreed-upon spot in West Virginia for the swap weeks later, as per the lawsuit. Diana Toebbe appeared to act as a spy for her spouse during dead-drop operations for which the FBI paid $20,000.
According to court records, the FBI discovered a blue memory card wrapped in cellophane and sandwiched between slices of bread on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI gave the contents of the memory stick to a Navy specialist. This specialist assessed the documents contained design features and functional properties of Virginia-class submarine engines.
According to the allegation, the submarines are advanced nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack subs. “I hope your specialists are extremely delighted with the sample provided. I realize the necessity of a tiny exchange to strengthen our trust,” read a typed statement on the memory card reader.