Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Secret plans sold – US couple arrested on suspicion of nuclear espionage

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For almost a year in the United States, a couple sold secret plans for nuclear-powered ships. However, they were in contact with a double agent.

A US couple has been arrested on suspicion of nuclear espionage. As the Justice Department in Washington announced on Sunday, the two sold secret plans for nuclear-powered US warships to an employee of the Federal Police FBI, whom they believed to be a representative of a foreign government, for almost a year.

The husband, 42-year-old Jonathan Toebbe, worked as a nuclear engineer for the US Navy, the ministry said. Through his work, he had access to secret data on nuclear-powered submarines, which he and his 45-year-old wife Diana sold for a total of around 100,000 dollars (86,000 euros) in crypto currency. The FBI employee worked as an undercover agent.

In April 2020, the husband first sent a package with secret data to a foreign government in order to establish contact, it said. This package was intercepted, whereupon an FBI agent presented himself to the couple as a representative of the foreign government.

The couple then handed over numerous memory cards to the undercover FBI agent over the course of months – among other things, hidden in a peanut butter sandwich or a chewing gum pack that were left behind at previously agreed locations. According to investigations by the US authorities, the couple handed over “militarily sensitive planning elements” and “reference values ​​for the use and performance of the Virginia-class nuclear submarines” to the agent at the end of June.

The couple, who live in the state of West Virginia, have to appear in court on Tuesday.

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