Couple Arrested Over Sale of Nuclear Secrets

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A married couple from Maryland has been arrested on suspicion of selling secret information about the design of nuclear-powered warships. 

Jonathan and Diana Toebbe, both of Annapolis, were arrested in Jefferson County, West Virginia, by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service on Saturday, October 9. 

It is alleged that 42-year-old Naval nuclear engineer Jonathan Toebbe, with the help of his 45-year-old wife, sold information classified as Restricted Data to an undercover FBI agent who they believed was a representative of a foreign power.

The complaint affidavit alleges that on April 1, 2020, Jonathan Toebbe sent a package to a foreign government containing a sample of Restricted Data along with instructions for establishing a covert relationship to purchase more of it.

Toebbe allegedly corresponded with an undercover agent posing as a representative of that government for months before agreeing to exfiltrate Restricted Data and sell it for thousands of dollars in crypto-currency. 

After receiving a $10,000 advance payment, Toebbe and his wife allegedly arranged to leave an SD card containing the data at a pre-arranged location in West Virginia on June 26.

While his wife allegedly acted as a lookout, Toebbe allegedly performed the dead drop by hiding an encrypted SD card in a peanut butter sandwich and leaving it at a site agreed upon with the agent.

The agent retrieved the card and paid Jonathan Toebbe $20,000 for the encryption key. The card was found to contain Restricted Data related to submarine nuclear reactors. 

On August 28, Jonathan Toebbe allegedly made a second dead drop, this time concealing an SD card in a pack of chewing gum and accepting a payment of $70,000 from the undercover agent. 

The FBI arrested Jonathan and Diana Toebbe on October 9, after he placed a third SD card at a pre-arranged location in West Virginia. 

The Toebbes have been charged in a criminal complaint alleging violations of the Atomic Energy Act. The couple, who have two children, are due to appear before a federal court in Martinsburg, West Virginia, tomorrow.

Following her arrest, Diana Toebbe has been suspended from her job as a humanities teacher at the private Key School in Annapolis.

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