The US Department of Justice alleges that a US Navy nuclear engineer and his wife were arrested on espionage charges after trying to sell classified information.
According to court documents released on Sunday, Jonathan Toby and his wife, Diana Toby, were arrested and charged with violating the Atomic Energy Act after trying to sell a nuclear warship project to someone they believed to be a representative of a foreign power. .
The department said Toby, who had a security clearance, inadvertently communicated with FBI agents and passed on sensitive military secrets, in a pattern that lasted nearly a year.
In December 2020, an FBI official received a package from an individual attempting to establish a “covert relationship” with a representative from a foreign country, identified only as “COUNTRY1” in court documents.
Toebbe had listed a return address in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, containing sample confidential data and instructions for creating a confidential report for more information.
He began sending encrypted emails with a person believed to be a representative of the foreign government, who was instead an undercover FBI agent, and continued correspondence for several months before coming to an agreement to exchange thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency.
The secret agent sent Toebbe $10,000 in cryptocurrency as a “goodwill” payment before agreeing to travel to a location in West Virginia to complete the transaction. With his wife who was a lookout, he hid an SD card inside a peanut butter sandwich in a predetermined “dead drop” location.
Secret agent Jonathan Toby sent $20,000 in cryptocurrency, and in return received a decryption key on an SD card, which contained classified data on the reactors of American nuclear submarines.
The FBI arrested Toby and his wife on Saturday after two others were killed.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland arrested. “The work of the FBI and prosecutors from the Department of Justice, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Department of Energy has been instrumental in countering the conspiracy accused in the complaint and in taking this first step to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he added. advertiser.
Toebbe was an employee of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, also known as Naval Reactors, and had access to information about the Army’s critical design elements, operational standards, and performance characteristics of nuclear-powered warship reactors.
The couple have been charged with conspiracy to disclose confidential data and transmit prohibited data, and are expected to appear in federal court in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on Tuesday.
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