A US Navy nuclear engineer and his wife have been accused of trying to sell nuclear secrets to what they thought was a representative of a foreign country.
Jonathan Toby and his wife, Diana, were arrested in West Virginia on Saturday, the US Department of Justice announced.
The pair are accused of trying to sell classified nuclear submarine design data to someone they thought represented another country, but were in fact nothing more than an undercover FBI officer.
The two accused tried to hide confidential data inside a peanut butter sandwich once, and inside a pack of gum again.
According to the Justice Ministry’s statement, Twibi, 42, and his wife, Diana, 45, were charged under the Atomic Energy Act.
Tobey worked as an engineer in the US Navy’s nuclear propulsion program and had a National Security clearance.
The Ministry of Justice said that in April 2020 Twebi sent a package to a foreign government containing classified information and a message indicating a secret relationship, and that they could purchase more information from him.
Then, the couple proceeded to write to a person using an encrypted email, and at the time they believed that this person represented a foreign government, when in fact he was an FBI officer, according to the statement.
The couple also face an accusation that, several months later, they struck a deal to provide confidential information in exchange for cryptocurrency worth about $100,000.
Last June, Jonathan and Diana Toby traveled to West Virginia to hand over the information.
While Diana acted as an atmosphere watcher, Jonathan “placed an SD chip (storage memory) inside half of a peanut butter sandwich,” at a pre-arranged location, according to the Justice Department statement.
After the FBI officer received the agreed-upon chip, he paid the agreed-upon amount to receive the encryption key so that he could access data on the chip that contained classified information “related to nuclear submarines”.
In August, the couple handed more classified information to the same officer, this time concealing the chip in a pack of gum.
Yesterday, Saturday, was the third date between the couple and the officer to hand over more classified information, but the FBI decided to arrest them.
The Toobi couple are due to appear in federal court tomorrow, Tuesday, 12 October.
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