• Home
  • News
  • Entertainment
  • LAD Originals

U OK M8?
Free To Be
Extinct
Citizen Reef

To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Not now
OK

US Navy Engineer And Wife Charged With Selling Submarine Secrets To Foreign Government For Cryptocurrency

Jess Hardiman

Published 
| Last updated 

US Navy Engineer And Wife Charged With Selling Submarine Secrets To Foreign Government For Cryptocurrency

A US Navy nuclear engineer and his wife have both been charged with trying to sell secret information about the country's nuclear submarines in exchange for cryptocurrency payments, having inadvertently made a deal with an undercover FBI agent, the Justice Department has said.

In a criminal complaint outlining the espionage-related charges against Jonathan Toebbe, 42, the government alleged that he sold information to a contact he believed represented a foreign power - although the country was not named in the documents.

The complaint said that Mr Toebbe 'has passed, and continues to pass, Restricted Data as defined by the Atomic Energy Act . . . to a foreign government . . . with the witting assistance of his spouse'.

Stock image. Credit: Alamy
Stock image. Credit: Alamy

After placing a removable memory card at a pre-arranged 'dead drop', he and his 45-year-old wife Diana Toebbe were arrested in West Virginia on Saturday.

According to the FBI, the scheme started back in April 2020, when Mr Toebbe sent a package of Navy documents to a foreign government - saying he was interested in selling operations manuals and performance reports, along with other sensitive information.

An accompanying letter said: "I apologise for this poor translation into your language. Please forward this letter to your military intelligence agency. I believe this information will be of great value to your nation. This is not a hoax."

Stock image. Credit: Alamy
Stock image. Credit: Alamy

The package - which had a return address of Pittsburgh - was received by the FBI's legal office in the foreign country last December.

An FBI agent posed as a representative of the foreign government, and offered to strike up a deal for the information.

In June, the agent sent $10,000 (£7,343) in cryptocurrency to Mr Toebbe as a sign of trust.

The following week, agents watched the Toebbes arrive at the pre-agreed location in West Virginia, where Mr Toebbe completed the dead drop while his wife served as lookout.

Credit: Instagram/Diana Toebbe
Credit: Instagram/Diana Toebbe

A blue SD card, which had been wrapped in plastic had been placed inside a peanut butter sandwich, was recovered by the FBI, which said it had paid the couple $20,000 (£14,686) for the transaction.

An expert determined that the records on the SD card included design elements and performance characteristics of Virginia-class submarine reactors.

A message on the card also said: "I hope your experts are very happy with the sample provided and I understand the importance of a small exchange to grow our trust."

The complaint said the FBI conducted similar dead-drop transactions over the next few months, including another in August when Mr Toebbe was paid $70,000 (£51,400).

Both Mr Toebbe - who has worked for the US government since 2012, holding a top-secret security clearance and specialising in naval nuclear propulsion - and his wife are due to appear in a West Virginia federal court on Tuesday.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Diana Toebbe

Topics: News, US News, Cryptocurrency

Jess Hardiman
More like this

Chosen for YouChosen for You

News

Security guards with machine guns fire at Somali pirates trying to attack ship

an hour ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Dad jailed for 22 months while would-be burglars 'escape justice' thanks public for support

2 hours ago