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US Navy engineer and wife charged with attempt to sell nuclear submarine secrets

The Maryland couple accused of trying to pass secret Navy secrets to a foreign government were indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday on national security charges.

Jonathan and Diana Toebbe are both charged with one count of “conspiracy to release restricted data” and two counts of “release of restricted data,” according to a Justice Department press release on Tuesday.

According to the statement, Jonathan Toebbe, 42, sold for nearly a year “limited data” regarding the design of nuclear-powered laundry boats with the help of his wife of 45, Diana Toebbe. The couple sold the data to someone they believed to be a representative of a foreign government, but who was an undercover FBI agent.

The USS Virginia attack submarine leaves Naval Submarine Base New London en route to Portsmouth Shipyard in Kittery, Maine in 2010 – file photo.
(US Navy Photo / Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Myers)


Jonathan Toebbe worked for the Department of the Navy as a nuclear engineer and held an active national security clearance, giving him access to restricted data.

The indictment comes after Toebbe was arrested last week in West Virginia after placing a removable memory card in a “dead drop,” the Department of Justice said.

The FBI said the couple’s plan began in April 2020, when Toebbe sent a package containing Navy documents to a foreign government and expressed interest in selling sensitive information about the country. He also provided instructions on how to organize the secret exchange in a letter to the foreign government.

US Navy engineer and wife charged with attempt to sell nuclear submarine secrets

Two people, male and female, working together in the office, FBI team.
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“I apologize for the poor translation into your language. Please forward this letter to your military intelligence agency. I think this information will be of great value to your nation. This is not a hoax,” he said. Toebbe in the letter.

The indictment alleges that in June of this year an undercover agent sent Toebbe a payment of $ 10,000 in cryptocurrency as a gesture of “good faith” before going to the location. ” dead drop “from West Virginia. Once there, Toebbe placed a hidden SD card right side up while his wife acted as a lookout.

After recovering the SD card, the undercover agent sent Toebbe a payment of $ 20,000 in cryptocurrency in exchange for the SD card decryption key, which contained restricted data regarding the nuclear reactors.

Toebbe would go on to make a second “dead drop” from an SD card in Virginia in exchange for $ 70,000 in cryptocurrency, with that SD card also containing more restricted data on nuclear submarine reactors.

US Navy engineer and wife charged with attempt to sell nuclear submarine secrets

The world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus was a milestone in naval engineering when it was launched in 1954. It was then decommissioned in 1980 and now remains open to the public in Groton, Connecticut.


According to a Fox News report last week, a review of what appeared to be the Toebbes’ social media accounts revealed that Diana Toebbe had several posts on Facebook and Twitter expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as anti -Trump.

She is a teacher at the private Key School in Annapolis, Maryland, which suspended her indefinitely after her arrest.

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