|The couple allegedly tried to sell secrets about US nuclear submarines to a foreign government. The couple are set to appear in federal court on 12 October. (Photo by=IMAGE SOURCE,US NAVY/THIEP VAN NGUYEN II)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] A US Navy nuclear engineer and his wife have been charged with trying to sell nuclear secrets to what they thought was a foreign state. BBC reported Jonathan Toebbe and his wife Diana were arrested in West Virginia on Saturday, the Justice Department announced.
They allegedly tried to sell nuclear submarine design data, hidden in a peanut butter sandwich, to someone they thought represented another country. In fact, he's an undercover FBI agent. The statement says Mr. Toebbe and his partner, 42 and 45 respectively, have now been charged under the Atomic Energy Act. Mr. Toebbe worked in the US Navy's nuclear propulsion program and had national security clearance. His wife is a high school teacher.
The Justice Department said that in April 2020 he sent a package to an unnamed foreign government containing restricted data and a message suggesting a covert relationship so that they could buy more data from him. After several months, the accused couple allegedly made a deal to share secret information in exchange for around $100,000 (£73,000) in cryptocurrency. Mr Toebbe then performed a second so-called dead drop - this time hidden inside a chewing gum packet - in August, with yet more secret data on it. FBI agents then arrested the couple on Saturday, during a third dead drop.