Maryland husband and wife arrested in nuclear submarine spy case

…from Politico

Update: Futher reporting indicates that to entice this ‘event’ that the foreign government used as a beard was a US ally. That puts an unusual twist in the case in that has typically happened before to us with Israel and no one gets arrested. Imagine that.

I am trying to remember the last person tried here for given top secrets to Israel. The usual pattern is that they ask for it, and if refused, they find some people here that just let them steal it, and even go so far as to cover up the theft so no one gets upset.

[ Editor’s Note: Oh my, it appears that an avaricious family couple wanted to have an extra special Christmas this year, but the devil caught them red handed, or turned them in.

The sting bait was 100k in crypto currencies for current info on US nuclear submarine propulsion technology from nuclear engineer Toebbe, something that only a short list of countries would have a need for. Fortunately he was not career navy, only working with them since 2012.

But a key part of the story is missing. Was the couple approached or did they initiate contact with a foreign country? Such tidbits are never released in the press, so we may have to wait until trial to get those details.

Toebbe made another big mistake involving his wife, so now she is looking at life in prison with him. From the Department of Justice we have:

“The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The work of the FBI, Department of Justice prosecutors, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Department of Energy was critical in thwarting the plot charged in the complaint and taking this first step in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Jonathan Toebbe is an employee of the Department of the Navy who served as a nuclear engineer and was assigned to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, also known as Naval Reactors. He held an active national security clearance through the U.S. Department of Defense, giving him access to Restricted Data.

Toebbe worked with and had access to information concerning naval nuclear propulsion including information related to military sensitive design elements, operating parameters and performance characteristics of the reactors for nuclear powered warships.

Annapolis is an expensive place to live. Maybe they thought it was time for them to enjoy the boat life or pay the mortgage off. I do see below what look like perfect teeth, big bucks in the good ole USA. Hello life sentences to the happy coupleJim W. Dean ]

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First published … October 10, 2011

“The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the DOJ’s statement.

Jonathan Toebbe, 42, is described as a nuclear engineer employed by the Navy. The DOJ said he and Diana, 45, first sent information in April to an unspecified country, offering “a sample of restricted data and instructions for establishing a covert relationship.”

“The affidavit also alleges that, thereafter, Toebbe began corresponding via encrypted email with an individual whom he believed to be a representative of the foreign government,” the DOJ said. “The individual was really an undercover FBI agent.”

…According to the criminal complaint, the FBI successfully convinced a skeptical Toebbe that he had successfully connected with a foreign agent, including by “conduct[ing] an operation in the Washington, D.C. area that involved placing a signal at a location associated” with the unspecified country.

… According to the DOJ, the Toebbes received $100,000 in cryptocurrency — starting with a payment of $10,000 and ending with one of $70,000 — in exchange for the information that they provided and keys to accessing the information on the SD cards.

… “There, with Diana Toebbe acting as a lookout, Jonathan Toebbe placed an SD card concealed within half a peanut butter sandwich at a pre-arranged ‘dead drop‘ location,” the Justice Department said.

You can read the full Politico article here.

Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, October 10, 2021

Maryland Nuclear Engineer and Spouse Arrested on Espionage-Related Charges

Jonathan and Diana Toebbe, both of Annapolis, Maryland, were arrested in Jefferson County, West Virginia, by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) on Saturday, Oct. 9. They will have their initial appearances on Tuesday, Oct. 12, in federal court in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

For almost a year, Jonathan Toebbe, 42, aided by his wife, Diana, 45, sold information known as Restricted Data concerning the design of nuclear-powered warships to a person they believed was a representative of a foreign power. In actuality, that person was an undercover FBI agent. The Toebbes have been charged in a criminal complaint alleging violations of the Atomic Energy Act.

“The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The work of the FBI, Department of Justice prosecutors, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Department of Energy was critical in thwarting the plot charged in the complaint and taking this first step in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Jonathan Toebbe is an employee of the Department of the Navy who served as a nuclear engineer and was assigned to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, also known as Naval Reactors. He held an active national security clearance through the U.S. Department of Defense, giving him access to Restricted Data. Toebbe worked with and had access to information concerning naval nuclear propulsion including information related to military sensitive design elements, operating parameters and performance characteristics of the reactors for nuclear powered warships.

The complaint affidavit alleges that on April 1, 2020, Jonathan Toebbe sent a package to a foreign government, listing a return address in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, containing a sample of Restricted Data and instructions for establishing a covert relationship to purchase additional Restricted Data.

The affidavit also alleges that, thereafter, Toebbe began corresponding via encrypted email with an individual whom he believed to be a representative of the foreign government. The individual was really an undercover FBI agent. Jonathan Toebbe continued this correspondence for several months, which led to an agreement to sell Restricted Data in exchange for thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency.

On June 8, 2021, the undercover agent sent $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Jonathan Toebbe as “good faith” payment. Shortly afterwards, on June 26, Jonathan and Diana Toebbe traveled to a location in West Virginia. There, with Diana Toebbe acting as a lookout, Jonathan Toebbe placed an SD card concealed within half a peanut butter sandwich at a pre-arranged “dead drop” location.

After retrieving the SD card, the undercover agent sent Jonathan Toebbe a $20,000 cryptocurrency payment. In return, Jonathan Toebbe emailed the undercover agent a decryption key for the SD Card. A review of the SD card revealed that it contained Restricted Data related to submarine nuclear reactors. On Aug. 28, Jonathan Toebbe made another “dead drop” of an SD card in eastern Virginia, this time concealing the card in a chewing gum package.

After making a payment to Toebbe of $70,000 in cryptocurrency, the FBI received a decryption key for the card. It, too, contained Restricted Data related to submarine nuclear reactors. The FBI arrested Jonathan and Diana Toebbe on Oct. 9, after he placed yet another SD card at a pre-arranged “dead drop” at a second location in West Virginia.

Trial Attorneys Matthew J. McKenzie and S. Derek Shugert of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jarod J. Douglas and Lara Omps-Botteicher of the Northern District of West Virginia, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Lieber Smolar for the Western District of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The FBI and the NCIS are investigating the case.

A complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. The timing is interesting as it coincides with the canceled French sub deal. The bizarre string of events, favors the UK. The country should be listed.

    Britain and Israel and Saudi Arabia are not US allies. They would love to see us tear each other apart and certainly have never favored democracy. #AbolishtheMonarchy is trending.

  2. To call Israel a US ally is the hight of irony. Not only have they been stealing nuclear technology from us for decades, but they nuked us on 9/11 and got away with it. It’s amazing that Americans are still taken in by that obvious fable. It’s amazing that we willingly consent to our own demise.

    • “””A Maryland couple were arrested Saturday and accused of trying to sell military secrets to a foreign power.”””

      That’s good news Adrian.
      I didn’t think we had any military secrets.
      😕