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US navy engineer arrested for promoting nuclear submarine secrets and techniques | Nuclear Weapons Information

Jonathan Toebbe bought the design of nuclear-powered warships to a international official, who was an undercover FBI agent.

A United States Navy nuclear engineer and his partner have been arrested on espionage expenses after allegedly making an attempt to promote confidential info, the US Division of Justice mentioned.

Based on court docket data unsealed on Sunday, Jonathan Toebbe and his spouse, Diana Toebbe, have been arrested and charged with violating the Atomic Vitality Act after making an attempt to promote the design of nuclear-powered warships to an individual they believed was a consultant of a international energy.

The division mentioned Toebbe, who held a safety clearance, unwittingly communicated with FBI brokers and handed alongside delicate navy secrets and techniques, in a scheme that stretched almost a yr.

In December 2020, an FBI official acquired a bundle from somebody making an attempt to determine “a covert relationship” with a consultant from a international nation, recognized solely as “COUNTRY1” in court docket paperwork.

Toebbe had listed a return tackle in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, containing a pattern of restricted knowledge and directions for establishing a covert relationship to acquire extra info.

He started corresponding through encrypted electronic mail with a person whom he believed to be a consultant of the international authorities, who was as a substitute an undercover FBI agent, and continued a correspondence for a number of months earlier than reaching an trade settlement for 1000’s of {dollars} in cryptocurrency.

The spy despatched $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Toebbe as “good religion” fee earlier than he agreed to journey to a location in West Virginia to finish the transaction. Together with his spouse appearing as a lookout, he hid an SD card inside a peanut butter sandwich at a prearranged “lifeless drop” location.

The spy despatched Jonathan Toebbe a $20,000 cryptocurrency fee and acquired in return a decryption key for the SD card, which contained restricted knowledge on US submarine nuclear reactors.

The FBI arrested Toebbe and his spouse on Saturday, after two extra “lifeless drops”.

Lawyer Basic Merrick B Garland welcomed the arrest. “The work of the FBI, Division of Justice prosecutors, the Naval Felony Investigative Service and the Division of Vitality was vital in thwarting the plot charged within the criticism and taking this primary step in bringing the perpetrators to justice,” he mentioned.

Toebbe was an worker on the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, often known as Naval Reactors, and had entry to info associated to navy delicate design parts, working parameters and efficiency traits of the reactors for nuclear-powered warships.

The couple have been charged with conspiracy to speak restricted knowledge and communication of restricted knowledge and are scheduled to make an look in federal court docket in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on Tuesday.

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