Jonathan Toebbe, Naval Engineer Accused of Espionage, Now pleads guilty – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Jonathan Toebbe, a US Navy nuclear engineer from Annapolis charged with selling classified data, will plead guilty to conspiracy charges during a hearing in federal court on Monday.

The plea agreement, which was entered on February 10, calls for a possible sentence of 12 and a half to 17 and a half years in prison for the conspiracy charge.

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Toebbe and his wife, Diana, formerly plead not guilty on a three-count indictment that charged them with espionage for selling sensitive data to someone they thought was a foreign intelligence agent but was in fact an undercover FBI agent.

The pair were arrested in West Virginia last October following a months-long FBI investigation.

According to authorities, Toebbe hid memory cards filled with limited data about the design of US nuclear submarines inside common items, such as a sandwich or a pack of chewing gum, and then disposed of them. at locations in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, with his wife. as a concern.

The couple was charged with conspiring to restrict data communications and restricted data communications violation of the Atomic Energy Act. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The lawsuit alleging an attempt to sell data began in April 2020 when representatives of an undisclosed foreign country received a package of Navy documents, a letter expressing a desire to sell the information. Confidentiality and contact instructions.

“I apologize for this poor translation into your language. Please forward this letter to your military intelligence agency. I believe this information will be of great value to your country. This is not a hoax,” the sender, known as “Alice,” wrote in part.

The package and its contents were handed over to the FBI in December. Since then, an undercover agent posing as a representative of a foreign government has responded to the sender via an encrypted email.

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In February, the parties contacted and exchanged via a series of emails over the next several weeks discussing payment and shipping methods.

Over Memorial Day weekend, the FBI placed a signal for “Alice” at a location affiliated with a foreign government. A few days later, the secret agent sent $10,000 in crypto to “Alice” as a gesture of goodwill.

The first in a series of “dead drops” – leaving something hidden in a public location for others to pick up – was made on June 26 in Jefferson County, West Virginia. Authorities later recovered a memory card inside a peanut butter sandwich, and “Alice” was paid $20,000.

Additional drops were made on July 31 in Pennsylvania and August 28 in Virginia.

“I have considered the need to leave for a short time,” reads a message left on a memory card on August 28. “If it becomes necessary, I will forever be grateful for the help. your support for me and my family.”

According to the lawsuit, Toebbe is seeking a total of $5 million for dozens of deliveries.

FBI agent testified in October Investigators found a trash bag containing shredded documents, $11,300 in cash, valid children’s passports and a “travel bag” containing a USB flash drive and rubber gloves when they searched his home. a couple.

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That same month, a judge judgment Diana Toebbe was detainedcalled her a threat to flight and national security if released.

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/02/14/jonathan-toebbe-navy-engineer-accused-of-espionage-to-appear-in-court-monday/ Jonathan Toebbe, Naval Engineer Accused of Espionage, Now pleads guilty – CBS Baltimore

Dustin Huang

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