A US Navy engineer was caught red-handed by the FBI in a dead drop operation where the culprit was selling nuclear submarine secrets to another country. The individual thought it was going to be an easy deal but was intercepted earlier by the authorities.
The guilty party was identified as a naval engineer, Jonathon Toebbe,42, who attempted to pass a micro-SD without getting caught. He never realized it was not an actual foreign contact until the FBI set the trap, and he was caught then charged with espionage.
US Navy engineer offered secret nuclear data in exchange for cryptocurrency
The suspect was ready to exchange information for the price of $70,000 in Bitcoin currency to another person that was supposed to be a buyer, but is an undercover FBI agent, reported the Sun UK
According to USA Today, the suspect and his wife, Diana, 45, got apprehended in West Virginia last Saturday when the undercover FBI agent met them at the meeting place to pass the information, stating the Justice Department.
According to the FBI, it began in April 2020 when the naval engineer sent a package of documents to an unnamed foreign power, cited the State.
Most of the material he would sell to the foreign buyer are manuals, performance reports, and more information that would compromise the technical data of the Virginia class nuclear reactors.
He would also give specific instructions on how to go about the illegal covert relationship. One letter he wrote would be apologizing for the wrong translation. This US Navy Engineer was caught red-handed by the FBI with the letters as evidence.
In his letter, he says to please forward this to the military intelligence agency, and the information will be valuable to your nation. He assured that it was no hoax.
Alleged foreign power endorsed Toebbe's info to the US government
Until December 2020, the foreign nation that got Toebbe's letter kept them until they turned over the documents to the US government.
Some details in the charge against the naval engineer said that the storage media was concealed in a peanut butter sandwich, chewing gum pack, and band-aid wrapper.
The engineer has been working since 2012, with high-level security clearance and a specialist in nuclear propulsion systems for ships. FBI said the suspect worked in a government lab in Pittsburgh for nuclear-powered systems in the US Navy.
It took two months to rope in the suspect and convinced him that a foreign agency was ready to deal anytime, which led to the undercover operation. To hook Toebbe, the posing agent has made arrangements to pay his fee in $10,000 crypto money for the information.
The day came weeks, later the suspect and his wife went to the drop location in the state for the information exchange. While the engineer waited, Diana was on the lookout for him to clear him and anyone else involved during the operation. The FBI gave a total of $20,000.
All the storage devices were taken from as Teobbe said it would be clandestinely hidden, told the court filling. Detailed data on the Virginia class sub reactors were on the storage media.
He also asked them to help him get out of the country if there would be trouble, saying his family had cash and passports ready. The FBI did all the drops till it was $70,000 as agreed.
The US Navy engineer was caught red-handed by the FBI after a months-long mission, and he and his wife were charged with espionage.
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