Jonathan Toebbe, a former US Navy nuclear engineer, and his wife tried to sell secrets and classified information related to American nuclear-powered warships to Brazil. The couple was arrested last year in October after they approached a foreign government with the stolen classified information.
During the initial investigation, the identity of the foreign country was not revealed, leading many to believe if it was France.
Toebbe Wanted to Deal with US Friendly Nations
In its report The New York Times reported that the stolen documents were related to the technology behind the nuclear reactors that power the U.S. submarine fleet.
As per the text records available in the court, Toebbe had moral apprehensions about colliding with countries including Russia or China following which the couple decided to approach a country which wasn't hostile to U.S, reported the outlet.
"It's not morally defensible either. We convinced ourselves it was fine, but it really isn't either, is it?" Tobi wrote in one of the text messages. "I have no problems at all with it. I feel no loyalty to abstractions," responded his anti-Trump wife, Diana Toebbe.
Plans Quashed Following a Sting Operation
Reportedly, Toebbe stole the secret and classified documents related to the nuclear reactor from the Washington based U.S. Navy yard.
The outlet reported that it was two years ago when the disgraced soldier offered the deal to Brazilian military intelligence agencies through a letter. The same was later handed over to the FBI's legal attachÃ© in Brazil.
In a sting operation, which started in December 2020, an F.B.I. undercover agent posed as a Brazilian official to win the Navy engineer's trust and seek the documents.
The outlet further reported that Toebbe, who was initially hesitant to deliver the classified documents, wrote to the undercover agent. "I am concerned that using a dead drop location your friend prepares makes me very vulnerable. For now, I must consider the possibility that you are not the person I hope you are," read the transcript as per the court.
The couple was finally arrested in October following which they pleaded guilty. While Toebbe faces 17 and a half years in prison his wife was sentenced to 3 years.