The government said the engineer sold information for nearly a year to a contact he believed represented a foreign power.
Navy nuclear engineer charged with having access to military secrets The US is trying to give information about the design of nuclear-powered submarines The Justice Department said on Sunday that it was a case for someone it thought was a representative of a foreign government but who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.
In a criminal complaint detailing the espionage-related charges against Jonathan Tobey, the government said it sold information about the past year to a contact it believed to be a foreign power. represents. That country was not named in the court documents.
Toebe, 42, was arrested Saturday in West Virginia with his wife, 45-year-old Diana, after placing a removable memory card on a pre-arranged “dead drop” in the state, according to the Justice Department.
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It was not immediately clear whether Toebs of Annapolis, Maryland, had lawyers. The Navy declined to comment on Sunday.
The FBI says the plan began in April 2020 when Jonathan Tobey sent a package of Navy documents to a foreign government and wrote that he was interested in selling that country’s operations manuals, performance reports and other sensitive information.
Officials say he also directed them to conduct secret ties with a letter that said: “I apologize for this poor translation in your language. Please forward this letter to your military intelligence agency.” I am sure this information will be very important for our nation. This is not a hoax.”
The package, which had a return address in Pittsburgh, was obtained by the FBI last December through its legal attaché office in an unspecified foreign country. This led to a month-long undercover operation in which an agent posing as a foreign government representative made contact with Tobey and agreed to pay thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency for the information he was providing.
In June, the FBI says, an undercover agent sent Tobey $10,000 in cryptocurrency, describing it as a sign of good faith and trust.
Weeks later, after federal agents saw Tobes arrive at an agreed-upon location in West Virginia for the exchange, Diana Tobes appeared to look for her husband during a dead-drop operation, for which the FBI paid $20,000, according to Grievance. Court documents said the FBI recovered a blue memory card wrapped in plastic and placed between two slices of bread on a peanut butter sandwich.
The Justice Department said the FBI provided the contents of the memory card to a Navy subject matter expert, who determined that the record contained design elements and performance characteristics of Virginia-class submarine reactors.
Those submarines are sophisticated, nuclear-powered “cruise missile fast-attack submarines,” according to the complaint.
The memory card also contained a typed message that said: “I hope your experts are very pleased with the sample provided and I understand the importance of a small exchange to increase our trust.”
The FBI conducted similar dead-drop exchanges over the next several months, including one in August in Virginia in which Tobey concealed a memory card in a chewing gum package containing schematic designs for a Virginia-class submarine. And about $70,000 was paid. court document.
The complaint alleges violations of the Atomic Energy Act, which prohibits the disclosure of information related to nuclear weapons or nuclear material.
Tobbs is expected to appear in his preliminary courtroom in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on Tuesday.
The FBI says Jonathan Tobey has worked for the US government since 2012, a top-secret security clearance and expertise in naval nuclear propulsion. He has also been assigned to a state-owned laboratory in the Pittsburgh area, which officials say works on nuclear power for the US Navy.
No one responded Sunday afternoon at Tobey’s residence in the Annapolis community by the South River. There was an outside light above the door of their house and a dog was barking inside.
John Cooley, who lives across the street from Toebes, said he counted more than 30 FBI agents on his block from 2:30 p.m. on Saturday until dark. He said the agents went inside the house.