US Navy nuclear engineer Jonathan Toebbe and his wife Diana have been charged with attempting to pass information to a foreign government, according to a statement released by the US Department of Justice.

The couple was arrested in West Virginia on Saturday, October 9th.

Who is Jonathan Toebbe?

Jonathan has been an employee of the US Government since 2012.

The 42-year-old has served as a nuclear engineer and was assigned to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, which is known as Naval Reactors. 

Jonathan attended the Officer Training Command in Newport, Rhode Island and worked as a nuclear engineering officer in Pittsburgh and Northern Virginia.

As stated by the US Department of Justice, he had access to “information concerning naval nuclear propulsion including information related to military sensitive design elements, operating parameters and performance characteristics of the reactors for nuclear powered warships”.

Photo by Sung Jin Cho on Unsplash

What are the allegations against Jonathan?

Jonathan and his wife Diana were arrested on espionage-related charges last weekend.

According to the US Department of Justice, they have been charged with passing information to a contact of a foreign government, who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.

The statement said that Jonathan and Diana travelled to a prearranged dead-drop location in West Virginia on June 26th where Diana acted like a lookout, while Jonathan placed an SD card in a peanut butter sandwich.

According to the US Department of Justice, the FBI recovered a blue memory card which contained restricted data connected to submarine nuclear reactors.

The FBI conducted several more dead-drop exchanges before Jonathan and Diana were arrested on October 9th, 2021.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said: “The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation.

“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.”

Who is his wife, Diana Toebbe?

Diana, 45, is a humanities teacher at the private school Key School, which is based in Annapolis, Maryland.

The couple lives in Annapolis and have two children together.

Jonathan and Diana will appear in court on Tuesday, October 12th, in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

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