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Navy Engineer, Wife Face Charges for Allegedly Trying to Share Nuclear Submarine Technology Secrets

Navy Engineer, Wife Face Charges for Allegedly Trying to Share Nuclear Submarine Technology Secrets

“The information [Jonathan] Toebbe turned over included details of the design, operations and performance of Virginia-class nuclear submarine reactors…” photo -

Authorities charged Navy engineer Jonathan Toebbe, who has top-secret clearance, and his wife Diana for allegedly trying to sell nuclear submarine technology secrets to a foreign country:

The information Toebbe turned over included details of the design, operations and performance of Virginia-class nuclear submarine reactors, according to court papers. Virginia-class subs carry cruise missiles and incorporate “the latest in stealth, intelligence-gathering, and weapons system technology,” according to court papers. Each costs about $3 billion to build.

The unsealed documents did not name the foreign country:

The documents allege that in April 2020, Mr. Toebbe sent a mail package containing U.S. Navy documents, instructions and an SD card to a foreign government. The FBI obtained the package in December 2020, the court filings said.

The foreign country isn’t named in the court documents. It couldn’t immediately be determined whether it was a U.S. friend or rival.

The package included guidance on how to use an encrypted communication platform, along with other documents. Mr. Toebbe marked the information as confidential and asked for it to be forwarded to the other country’s military agency, the documents said.

“I believe this information will be of great value to your nation,” he said in the letter, according to the court documents.

It was dated April 1, 2020, April Fool’s day. “This is not a hoax,” he added in his note.

The FBI said Toebbe used an encrypted platform that many use to conceal their identity and location.

The agent who intercepted Toebbe’s messages pretended to be an agent in the foreign country. The FBU offered Toebbe a gift, but he refused to meet face-to-face.

Toebbe asked for $100,000 in cryptocurrency: “Please remember I am risking my life for your benefit.”

The FBI paid Toebbe $100,000 by August 2021:

The FBI and Mr. Toebbe in further exchanges discussed how the payment and delivery of documents could occur. Eventually the FBI paid $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Mr. Toebbe under a pseudonym as a show of good faith, the court documents say.

Mr. Toebbe went ahead with a dead drop of documents in West Virginia, where he was observed by the FBI, the documents say. His wife accompanied him, the court records show. The drop of data was carried out by the SD card left in a peanut butter sandwich.

The contents of the card were examined by a Navy subject matter expert, who determined it contained militarily sensitive details about Virginia-class submarine reactors.

The FBI then paid Toebbe $20,000. Toebbe followed with two more dead drops using a Band-Aid wrappers and gum packages.

Toebbe dropped off “a decryption key to read the contents of one of the data cards” after the FBI gave him $70,000.


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My first thought is that the FBI entrapped the perps, like they did with the Whitmer affair.

The FBI cannot be trusted and they are brown shirts for “BIG BROTHER.”

    Dathurtz in reply to ParkRidgeIL. | October 11, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    I think they were probably entrapped. I am a lot more worried about the evils of entrapment when it comes to things like prostitution or drugs.

    I am oddly okay with it in situations that involve true military secrets like, say, the functioning of our nuclear subs.

      txvet2 in reply to Dathurtz. | October 11, 2021 at 8:25 pm

      Just because you’re offered an opportunity to commit treason doesn’t mean that you have to accept the offer. Anyway, according to the narrative, he apparently initiated the exchange. Get a rope.

        Dathurtz in reply to txvet2. | October 11, 2021 at 9:41 pm

        Agree. That’s why I am fine with entrapment when it comes to stuff like this.

        If he initiated it, then hang him/them. I don’t know how such things are done. Is it usual to contact a foreign government and get the FBI instead?

          txvet2 in reply to Dathurtz. | October 11, 2021 at 10:23 pm

          Do you really think that any public communications with a foreign entity aren’t being monitored? NSA does this legally, and as far as I know, the any number of federal LE agencies can do it with a warrant.

    ArmyStrong in reply to ParkRidgeIL. | October 12, 2021 at 8:10 am

    The way I understand entrapment, it requires that law enforcement devised a criminal act and enticed someone to join in their illegal scheme. The way I read this article it looks like the FBI intercepted this contact and played along with an act of espionage. I’m not a big fan of what the FBI has done in some cases, but I don’t think this is one of those.

    CommoChief in reply to ParkRidgeIL. | October 12, 2021 at 10:58 am

    His problem isn’t just passing the data. He held a clearance and part of the in brief/read on procedure is signing a statement that he will report his contract with foreign nationals who are fishing for info about his work.

    You don’t report that the lawn care service sent a guy to cut your lawn who said he’s from Guatemala as a ‘contact/approach/interaction. You do report when they are interested in your work product.

    The failure to do so is a violation in itself. Doing the right thing is easy. Don’t talk about your work and definitely don’t pass on data. I have no sympathy for them.

    JOBBOSS in reply to ParkRidgeIL. | October 12, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Agreed. Everybody needs to watch this case and not form opinions. The FBI is suspect in everything they do.

Other sites are reporting that they’re ultra-liberals and had a freaking BLM yard sign.

When you actively hate the country it’s pretty easy to sell it out.

The FBU offered Toebbe a gift
when I think of FBI I think FU not FBU….

And that’s what happens when you don’t give The Big Guy his 10%.

FBI entrapment or not in ANY war against a REAL opponent treason will have an incredibly high amount of temptation from a wide variety of ways and American victory will not be certain (REAL opponents not backwards tribesmen who can’t possibly fight back).

If you are in the military and falling for FBI entrapment you never should have been there in the first place.

Is the solution the kind of life no parole these two will likely get? I don’t know but put this in perspective.

We have never had a higher peacetime navy budget and yet our ships are suffering damage all over the world that is also unprecedented for a peacetime US navy.

We are suffering a quality decline in our navy even as it’s budget balloons to a point that would make Thomas Jefferson suffer a stroke just from seeing it.

Do we need to have our opponents catch up technologically to us while this happens?

FBI does a lot of horrible things, checking if people who our navy relies on in a very serious way are actually loyal to this country and this flag is not among the bad. Maybe the penalty they are facing is too high and has too many decades in jail, but we can’t have disloyal sailors in uniform.

Big no no. Lots of them in fact. If the reporting is accurate they are going to federal prison.

Did they lead or follow?

Were they provided incentives or inducements?

Was there passive or affirmative action?

In Whitmer-closet, it was the latter.

am amazed they’d risk losing their liberty(and for a long time) over a $100k

have to be just stupid or truly desperate

    Arminius in reply to texansamurai. | October 12, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    I know. For a nuclear-qualified naval engineer that isn’t even one year’s salary. Whatever his “Stop Trump” wife makes is on top of that. His (their?) motive may have been primarily ideological. Or money may just pass through their fingers like a handful of sand.

Nobody wants to be the party-pooper!
ALL the cool kids are committing treason these days!
Get with it, you dog-faced pony soldiers!