US Navy Nuclear Engineer arrested on Espionage Charges

Alka Verma-

Published On: October 11, 2021 at 13:08 IST

A United States Navy nuclear engineer along with his wife have been arrested on Espionage Charges after supposedly endeavoring to sell private data.

The engineer was having admittance to military privileged insights and was attempting to pass data about the plan of American nuclear-powered submarines to somebody he thought was a delegate of a Foreign Government yet who ended up being a covert FBI agent.

Jonathan Toebbe and wife, Diana Toebbe, were arrested for violating the Atomic Energy Act as they tried to sell the confidential data, stated US Department of Justice.

Reportedly Toebbe, who held a trusted status, accidentally spoke with FBI specialists and passed along delicate Military data, in a plan that extended almost a year.

An official from FBI, in December 2020 got a package from an unknown person who was endeavouring to set up “a secret relationship” with an agent from a foreign country, recognized distinctly as “COUNTRY1” in Court documents.

Also, the nuclear engineer gave a return address of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and also attached a sample copy of confidential data.

Believing FBI agent as a delegate of the Foreign Government, the engineer also started to communicate with him and continued it for several months before reaching to a point where an exchange agreement for thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency happened.

The FBI agent sent $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Toebbe as a “good faith” payment so that he can agree to travel to West Virginia to complete the transaction.

 Toebbe kept the SD card within a peanut butter sandwich at a pre-planned “dead drop” location.

Toebbe and his wife were arrested on Saturday by FBI, after two more “dead drops” happened.

“The work of the FBI, Department of Justice prosecutors, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Department of Energy was critical in thwarting the plot charged in the complaint and taking this first step in bringing the perpetrators to justice,” stated Attorney General Merrick B Garland.

It should be noted here that Toebbe was an employee at the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, and he had access to all information regarding military sensitive design elements for nuclear-powered warships.

Now, the couple is booked for conspiracy to share confidential data and their appearance in Federal Court in Martinsburg, West Virginia, is scheduled on Tuesday.

Also Read: Circumstantial Evidence : How is it dealt with in the UK and the USA?

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