FBI Arrests Couple Attempting To Sell Nuclear Secrets
FBI Arrests Couple Attempting To Sell Nuclear Secrets
Despite all indications to the contrary in the press, the FBI is still capable of doing real investigative work.
Court records have now been unsealed in the case of Jonathan and Diana Toebbe, husband and wife, who are alleged to have handed over top secret information about nuclear powered submarines. Jonathan Toebbe was a nuclear engineer in the United States Navy, and had top secret clearance. He and his wife are now charged with attempting to sell that information to an unnamed country – but in reality, they were selling it to undercover FBI agents.
The Department of Justice says Jonathan Toebbe and his wife, Diana Toebbe, were arrested Saturday and charged with violating the Atomic Energy Act. The department says Toebbe unwittingly communicated with FBI agents and passed along sensitive military secrets, in a scheme that stretched more than a year.”
The 42-year-old former lieutenant in the Navy and his wife, 45, sold restricted information “concerning the design of nuclear powered warships” to someone they believed was a representative of an unnamed foreign power, according to federal law enforcement officials.”
This was not just a guy shooting his mouth off that the FBI caught wind of. This was carefully planned and set up, all the way down to dead drops and being paid in cryptocurrency, and went on for over a year.
An FBI agent in a criminal complaint justifying the arrest alleges Toebbe first sent a package to a foreign government in April 2020 offering to sell the nuclear secrets, and an undercover FBI agent responded several months later via an encrypted email program and corresponded with him. The agent worked on gaining Toebbe’s trust before he allegedly agreed to sell the information for thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency, according to the complaint.”
In June 2021, Toebbe and his wife traveled to West Virginia where the FBI said Toebbe “placed an SD card concealed within half a peanut butter sandwich at a pre-arranged ‘dead drop’ location.”
After retrieving the SD card, the undercover agent sent Toebbe a $20,000 cryptocurrency payment and Toebbe responded with the description key for the card, according to the complaint. The FBI said it “opened the provided SD card and provided the contents” to a US Navy subject matter expert, who confirmed it had classified information.”
Jonathan Toebbe may have been the prime source, but Diana Toebbe is alleged to have acted as lookout when the West Virginia drop happened. She was a teacher at a private school in Annapolis, Maryland (who is now on “indefinite leave”), but it seems that she was fully partnering in her husband’s attempts to sell nuclear secrets.
One interesting part of the complaint is that the Justice Department is deliberately masking which country the Toebbes were attempting to make contact with in order to sell the nuclear secrets. Toebbe left the Navy in December 2020, but allegedly had already started the process of trying to find a buyer for what he had, and sent a package that same month to prove that he had the goods.
Investigators say an FBI official received the package intended for a foreign entity on or about Dec. 20, 2020. The country was identified only as “COUNTRY1″ in court documents.”
“The package contained U.S. Navy documents, a letter containing instructions, and an SD card containing specific instructions on how COUNTRY1 should respond using an encrypted communication platform, and additional documents,” investigators said in a court filing.”
“I apologize for this poor translation into your language. Please forward this letter to your military intelligence agency,” the letter, handed over to the FBI, stated. “I believe this information will be of great value to your nation. This is not a hoax.”
Will we ever find out which country the Toebbes thought they were selling information to? Depends on how many records get unsealed over the course of time. The bigger question, of course, is why anyone would do this – and from what I can tell from the DOJ statement, Toebbes sold his SD cards for about $100,000 total in cryptocurrency. While this will likely never make it into the court records, there is a small clue on the front of their house, as seen though an Associated Press photo.
– Maryland couple, Navy nuclear engineer and his wife, are facing espionage-related charges.
– They attempted to sell nuclear secrets.
– Black Lives Matter sign is seen at their home. pic.twitter.com/UzKxYkilEf
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) October 11, 2021
And remember that Diana Toebbe is a teacher? Well, her social media profiles are pretty open about her politics.
A Twitter account appearing to also belong to Diana Toebbe shows her following various “resistance” accounts in protest of Trump, including the “Rogue NASA” account described as “the unofficial ‘Resistance’ team of NASA” on its description.”
One retweet from the account in 2017, just days after Trump’s inauguration, shows a photo reading, “To the rest of the world, due to an insufficient amount of moral courage, America is temporarily out of order. We hope to restore service as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we in the resistance movement join hands with those around the world who realize we are one people. May the forces of good be with us. #TheResistance.”
The social media posts on Diana Toebbe’s Facebook account include one saying “Women Can Stop Trump;” one profile picture featuring failed 2016 presidential candidate Hilary Clinton’s campaign symbol; a photo of the transgender flag; and various profile photos supporting the gay community. Her most recent public profile photos show her hair dyed purple in a bathroom selfie.”
One Facebook post from 2020 quotes Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg two days after her death, reading, “Fight for the things you care about.”
Will Facebook posts and Twitter follows and a sign on the front of the house ever be used against them in court? Not likely. Is is indicative of the mindset involved? Absolutely. Is this their actual motive? Who knows for certain. $100,000 in cryptocurrency sounds like pretty small potatoes for verifiable nuclear secrets – did they have more information that they planned on selling, and how long did they plan on stringing this out if they hadn’t been arrested?
But really, those unruly parents at school board meetings, THOSE are the people that the FBI are really worried about. Not the “Resistance” fans who decided to sell out their country. Two things can be true at once: the FBI can be applauded for intercepting and arresting the Toebbes, and be castigated if they follow through with investigating parents at the behest of school board members.