FBI Searches for Submarine Secrets in Espionage Case

FBI Searches for Submarine Secrets in Espionage Case

(TargetLiberty.org) – Shockwaves were sent throughout the intelligence community when the FBI arrested husband and wife team Jonathan and Diana Toebbe for espionage earlier this month. Many people wanted to know how a seemingly innocent couple from Maryland managed to get involved in selling top-secret submarine data. Unfortunately, the agency’s ongoing investigation continues to raise more questions than the answers it provides.

Case History

The FBI’s investigation into the modern-day Mr. and Mrs. Smith stretches back to at least early 2020. Agency records claim Jonathan Toebbe sent a package containing top-secret submarine data to an unidentified foreign government, hoping to cash in on the stolen information. That entity then informed the FBI, who immediately intercepted the package.

The agency’s next step was to insert itself directly into the ongoing exchange. They masqueraded as agents of the foreign country Toebbe initially hoped to contact by communicating via the encrypted messaging platform ProtonMail. Over nearly a year, they slowly won the unsuspecting ex-Navy engineer’s trust.

An antsy and distrustful Toebbe reached out to the same FBI agents in March of 2021, demanding approximately $100,000 in cryptocurrency payments. He said the good faith payment would convince him of their positive intentions while also reassuring him that they weren’t just a random third-party attempting to stir up trouble.

The FBI agreed to pay Toebbe in exchange for his efforts. They also asked the ex-Navy engineer to complete a series of dead drops of packages containing restricted submarine data, the first on June 28 and the second on August 28. Both went off seemingly without a hitch — or so the would-be spy thought.

Toebbe’s get rich quick scheme rapidly unraveled on October 9 during one final dead drop in West Virginia. The FBI, noting that Jonathan left behind a note asking the foreign entity to extract his family from the United States, immediately arrested the couple and remanded them to custody, citing fears that they may contact other buyers or escape.

FBI Can’t Locate Stolen Secrets — or Cash

The agency eventually raided the couple’s home a short time after their arrest. They discovered a plethora of shredded documents, cash, at least one cryptocurrency wallet, a computer, latex gloves, a USB drive, and the family’s passports.

What they didn’t manage to find was the stolen submarine data or nearly $100,000 in cryptocurrency payments sent by the FBI during the investigation.

The FBI officially filed a criminal complaint against the couple on October 8, 2021, under 42 USC § 2274(a) and The Atomic Energy Act. It accuses the couple of Conspiracy to Communicate Restricted Data and Communication of Restricted Data. Both Jonathan and Diana Toebbe pleaded not guilty to those charges during an October 20 court date.

However, that’s far from where the story ends. Representatives for the FBI now say they can’t locate Toebbe’s stolen data or the nearly $100,000 in cryptocurrency they sent to the family throughout the investigation. So, where exactly did it go?

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