Navy Man, Wife Unveiled in Crazy Espionage Plot Against the American Government

Navy Man, Wife Unveiled in Crazy Espionage Plot Against the American Government

( – Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction. A perfect case in point involves a Navy man and his wife’s recent effort to conspire to sell American government secrets. Fortunately, alert officials caught wind of the plot before the couple caused too much damage.

American Spies

Jonathan Toebbe, a nuclear engineer in the US Navy, and his wife, Diana Toebbe, allegedly tried to sell secret information about Virginia-class submarines to an unnamed foreign country. Mr. Toebbe had access to the top-secret intel through his work as an engineer. Authorities believe Mrs. Toebbe served as a lookout for her husband when he was executing dead drops.

The FBI Sets the Stage

The FBI discovered the plan after receiving a package that had been sent to another country. The package contained a letter, some US Navy documents, and instructions regarding contacting the sender. The package also included a note apologizing for the poor translation and urging the recipient to forward the message to their military intelligence officials.

Acting as spies for the foreign government, an FBI agent worked to gain the trust of the individual who sent the package using a series of emails. One thing led another, and the investigator identified Mr. Toebbe as the sender of the original package. The agent suggested a meeting in person, but Toebbe expressed concern about the possibility of doing so, telling the undercover investigator that he and his wife were already risking their lives by sending the package and answering messages.

According to court documents, the FBI agent communicated with Mr. Toebbe for nearly a year. During those transactions, the agent and Toebbe discussed various methods of trading information and methods of payment. The FBI claims Toebbe requested $100,000 in cryptocurrency, citing the danger he and his wife faced as justification for the high figure.

Foiling the Plan

Eventually, the agent convinced Toebbe to execute a dead drop, which the nuclear engineer executed by placing a 16-gigabyte data card in the center of a peanut butter sandwich. Toebbe received a $10,000 payment for the first drop and incremental payments for subsequent ones.

He continued his bizarre habit of hiding materials using unusual means. For instance, he wrapped a second data card in a gum wrapper and another one in a Band-Aid. Authorities indicated that after Toebbe received $70,000, he supplied a decryption key to read one of the cards.

Toebbe and his wife ended up providing thousands of documents to the FBI. The couple currently face charges of conspiring to communicate restricted data and sharing communication of restricted data.

Robert Trumble, a magistrate judge in a federal court near where authorities arrested the couple in West Virginia, ordered that the couple’s detention pending an upcoming pretrial hearing.

Copyright 2021,