This doesn’t happen very often because the agency normally doesn’t deserve it, but the FBI earned some kudos after busting a Maryland couple intent on selling highly classified secrets on the Navy’s newest, most advanced nuclear submarine to a foreign government.
According to reports, Navy nuclear engineer Jonathan Toebbe and wife, Diana, were arrested this week and charged with espionage after Jonathan attempted to sell nuclear propulsion secrets to a government that was not named in the federal indictment.
“For almost a year, Jonathan Toebbe, 42, aided by his wife, Diana, 45, sold information known as Restricted Data concerning the design of nuclear-powered warships to a person they believed was a representative of a foreign power,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “In actuality, that person was an undercover FBI agent. The Toebbes have been charged in a criminal complaint alleging violations of the Atomic Energy Act.”
The statement said that Jonathan Toebbe “sent a package to a foreign government, listing a return address in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, containing a sample of Restricted Data and instructions for establishing a covert relationship to purchase additional Restricted Data.”
“The affidavit also alleges that, thereafter, Toebbe began corresponding via encrypted email with an individual whom he believed to be a representative of the foreign government,” the statement noted further. “The individual was really an undercover FBI agent. Jonathan Toebbe continued this correspondence for several months, which led to an agreement to sell Restricted Data in exchange for thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency.”
Jonathan Toebbe, 42, and wife Diane, 45, have been charged with selling secret information about nuclear submarines to an undercover FBI agent pic.twitter.com/18aXRRjsFO
— INTELSky (@Intel_Sky) October 11, 2021
“The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. “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.”
Jonathan Toebbe sold information regarding specifications for the Virginia-class submarine, a new nuclear-powered attack sub that is replacing the Cold War-era Los Angeles-class boats. The information, specifically, pertained to reducing the submarine’s underwater noise signature which is vital to survival in today’s highly contested, highly technical oceanic combat zone.
But it was Diana’s anti-Trump hate that likely led her to act in concert with her husband, as BizPac Review reports:
The outlet noted that one of her retweets in 2017, a few days after Trump was inaugurated, contains a photo that says, “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.”
A humanities professor at the Key School for the past decade, a progressive private institution in Annapolis, Md., where she taught English and history, a former student, Craig Martien, 20, who graduated in 2019, described Diana as “insanely smart” but who was also upset by Trump’s victory and contemplated moving to Australia.
“She said she couldn’t stand the current state of politics and actually had found some job opportunities over there,” he told the Daily Mail.
While most of her social media posts were mundane, several of them talked about “The Resistance” during Trump’s tenure and one said, “America is Temporarily Out of Order.”
In addition, Diana Toebbe retweeted a post from leftist group MoveOn which contained a link to an NPR transcript of a speech from then-first lady Michelle Obama, in which she criticized Trump’s alleged treatment of women.
She also retweeted a post from CJ Werleman, a self-described “activist against Islamophobia” which contained a clip of an Iranian-American talking about the then-president’s travel ban with the caption, “Watch this video and then try to describe immigrants in dehumanizing terms such as ‘waves’ or ‘floods.’”
And a Facebook post to her account said, “Women Can Stop Trump.”
It is simply amazing what Trump hate has driven some Americans to do.