The FBI arrested a snitch Navy engineer for allegedly trying to pass along US nuclear secrets hidden within half a peanut-butter sandwich, according to court docs.
According to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Sunday, the 42-year-old Maryland suspect got himself into a pickle when it came out the foreign operative he thought he was working with was actually an FBI agent.
According to the feds, Annapolis resident Jonathan Toebbe hid secrets regarding the country’s Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarines on a blue, plastic-coated SD memory card, which he placed between two slabs of peanut butter-slathered bread.
The complaint stated, “The half sandwich was placed inside of a plastic bag.”
Toebbe is also accused of hiding SD cards with a Band-Aid wrapper and a bag of chewing gum at other instances.
Authorities said he would drop off materials at several sites, with his wife, Diana, a 45-year-old teacher, acting as his “lookout.”
“One day, when it is safe, perhaps two old friends will have a chance to stumble into each other at a cafe, enjoy a bottle of wine, and laugh over memories of their past escapades,” Toebbe allegedly wrote to his putative foreign contact, channeling his best inner John le Carré.
The FBI accused him and his wife of breaking the Atomic Energy Act and detained them on Saturday in Jefferson County, West Virginia, according to the Justice Department.
According to investigators, the feds paid Toebbe $100,000 in Monero cryptocurrency to make him believe they were a foreign government paying for the confidential material.
When an FBI official received a box purportedly shipped by Toebbe to an unspecified foreign country in December 2020, the feds launched an espionage probe.
According to the documents, the box contained Navy documents and instructions on how to use “encrypted communications,” as well as an expression of the sender’s intention to start a “covert connection.”
“Please have this letter forwarded to your military intelligence agency.” This knowledge, I believe, will be extremely beneficial to your country. According to the lawsuit, a message inside the package stated, “This is not a fake.”
According to the complaint, FBI operatives masquerading as foreign spies began talking with Toebbe via e-mail after validating the veracity of the secret material.
Toebbe allegedly wrote in March, after multiple e-mail exchanges, that he would release the records in exchange for cryptocurrency payments.
According to the FBI, all of the memory cards contained knowledge on the designs of Virginia-class nuclear submarines.
According to US authorities, the couple was apprehended when they arrived at a “dead drop” spot in West Virginia.
On Tuesday, the pair is scheduled to appear in federal court in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Who is representing the husband and wife is unknown.