Washington A Navy engineer and his wife have been arrested for selling restricted information about a US nuclear submarine design to an alleged representative of a “foreign power” who was actually an undercover FBI agent, it was reported Sunday. Department of Justice (Department of Justice, in English).
Jonathan Toby, 42, and his wife, Diana, 45, were arrested Saturday in Jefferson County, West Virginia, by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, after they were charged in a criminal complaint of violation, the Justice Department said in a statement.
In the statement, US Attorney Merrick Garland said the complaint alleges a “conspiracy to transfer design information” to US nuclear submarines to a foreign country.
The United States Atomic Energy Act defines “restricted data” as those relating to the “design, manufacture, or use of atomic weapons,” the production of special nuclear materials, and the use of special nuclear materials in energy production.
Toby and his wife are accused of conspiracy to communicate restricted data and transmit prohibited data.
According to the Department of Justice, Toebbe, a Navy nuclear engineer tasked with the naval nuclear propulsion program, has a national security clearance that gives him access to “restricted data.”
Specifically, the defendant operated and gained access to information related to naval propulsion, among which were military components of sensitive design, operating parameters, and reactor performance characteristics of nuclear-powered submarines.
The indictment noted that on April 1, 2020, Toebbe sent a package to a foreign government, with a return address in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, containing a sample of “restricted data” and instructions for creating a confidential communication for the purchase. for further information. .
Since then, the engineer has maintained an encrypted email exchange with someone believed to represent a foreign government that turned out to be an FBI agent, which led to a deal selling the information for thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency.
The secret agent sent Toebbe a “good faith” payment of $10,000 in cryptocurrency on June 8, and on the 26th of that month, Jonathan and Diana Toebbe traveled to West Virginia to leave a camouflaged memory card in a designated location. Half a peanut butter sandwich.
Apparently the woman acted as a “guardian,” as the Ministry of Justice described in detail.
After receiving the card, the agent made another payment of $20,000 to obtain, via email, a password to access the information.
Another card, this time hidden in a pack of gum, was left by Toby on August 28, who received $70,000 for revealing the key.
This Saturday, the couple were taken into custody after another card was placed in a hidden location in West Virginia. Both will appear for the first time on Tuesday in court in Martinsburg, that state.
According to the Washington Post, the data was related to Virginia’s nuclear attack submarines, which have been in service with the US Navy since 2004 and are designed to replace the previous Seawolf class.