A Navy nuclear submarine engineer smuggled secret documents out of work page-by-page to sell to foreign spies, invited them to meet him for a drink, and thanked them for offering to ‘extract’ him from the US, court papers claim.
Jonathan Toebbe, 42, and his ‘woke’ wife, Diana Toebbe, 45, are accused of violating the Atomic Energy Act – which restricts the disclosure of information related to atomic weapons or nuclear materials.
The couple, from Annapolis in Maryland, allegedly attempted to provide information relating to stealth technology for nuclear submarines to an unidentified foreign nation.
They are said to have offered material on Virginia-class submarines to an unnamed foreign power in April 2020.
That country’s officials didn’t reply, and instead turned over the evidence to the US in December 2020. Officials subsequently pursued the couple using undercover FBI agents posing as foreign spies from the nation they’d contacted, it is claimed.
Despite her alleged anti-American spying, Dana has posted anti-Trump and pro-Black Lives Matter memes on social media.
The Department of Justice revealed that Jonathan Toebbe (right), the Navy submarine engineer who faces ‘espionage-related crimes’ alongside his wife, Diana Toebbe (left), smuggled classified military secrets for years and became so comfortable with the ‘foreign spies’ that he wanted to meet them for drinks
In a letter outlining what classified information he had obtained, Jonathan, who spent two years working on nuclear reactors in Arlington, Virginia, is said to have explained how he meticulously smuggled documents over the years.
‘This information was slowly and carefully collected over several years in the normal course of my job to avoid attracting attention and smuggled past security checkpoints a few pages at a time,’ he wrote.
‘I no longer have access to classified data so unfortunately cannot help you obtain other files. But I can answer your experts questions using my own knowledge, if we can establish a secure and confidential means of communication.’
He is also said to have suggested meeting his handler for a drink after their ‘mission was complete.
An email prosecutors say was sent by Jonathan Toebbe said: ‘Thank you for your partnership as well my friend. One day, when it is safe, perhaps two old friends will have a chance to stumble into each other at a cafe, share a bottle of wine and laugh over stories of their shared exploits.
‘A fine thought, but I agree that our mutual need for security may make that impossible. Whether we meet or no[sic], I will always remember your bravery in serving your country and your commitment to helping me.’
And written communications – said to have been shared Jonathan and an undercover FBI agent posing as a foreign spy – show that the engineer and his wife were also prepared to be extracted to a safe country should their plot be exposed.
‘I will be forever grateful for your help extracting me and my family,’ Jonathan is said to have written in an encrypted email documented in the criminal complaint.
‘I surmise the first step would be unannounced travel to a safe third country with plans to meet your colleagues. We have passports and cash set aside for this purpose. I pray such a drastic plan will never be needed, but you are right: it is a comfort to know you are ready and willing to aid us.’
The complaint also revealed that Jonathan had a longstanding relationship with the foreign entity, although the name of the country whose spies Jonathan allegedly thought he was communicating with has not been shared.
Written communications between Jonathan and an undercover FBI agent posing as a foreign spy show that the engineer had collected the classified military information over several years
There is no suggestion that any of the material Toebbe is said to have stolen made its way into enemy hands.
The Toebbes were arrested in West Virginia on Saturday, and both charged with spying on the U.S. for an unidentified foreign government were ordered held without bail during a court appearance Tuesday after it was determined that they pose a ‘serious risk’ of flight.
They could face either life in prison or a fine of $100,000 and five years of supervised release.
They are scheduled for a detention hearing on Friday at 11am and a preliminary examination into their case has been set for October 20, at 1pm.
Their public defender has not commented on the case.
Jonathan Toebbe (left) and Diana Toebbe (right) were both charged with spying on the U.S. for an unidentified foreign government were ordered held without bail during a court appearance Tuesday after it was determined that they pose a ‘serious risk’ of flight
Diana, a humanities teacher at a private K-12 school in Annapolis, Maryland, has been placed on an indefinite suspension, a spokesperson confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday.
Matthew Nespole, head of Key School where Diana worked for the last 10 years, said the academic institution was ‘shocked and appalled’ to learn of the charges against the Toebbes.
‘Key School had no prior knowledge of their alleged criminal activities, nor is the School connected to the investigation in any way,’ Nespole said. ‘Key School supports the administration of justice by the FBI and NCIS, and will cooperate with the investigation if requested through our school’s legal counsel to do so.’
One of Diana’s former students, Craig Martien, – who collaborated with her on a yearbook and an after-school anthropology club – echoed the school leader’s claims, saying he too was shocked to learn of the news.
‘She was someone who I really looked up to. I was totally blindsided,’ he said in a Wednesday interview on Good Morning America.
Key School is now focusing on ‘minimizing disruptions for our students and supporting them emotionally’.
Diana (right), a humanities teacher at a private K-12 school in Annapolis, Maryland, has been placed on an indefinite suspension. Her former student, Craig Martien (left), said he was ‘totally blindsided’ by the allegations against Diana
Diana’s social media accounts – which often featured pictures of her dogs, her family and selfies, a far cry from her alleged life as a spy – revealed that she was unhappy with the government and her country.
Other posts reveal show that she was a staunch liberal who supported ‘The Resistance,’ once retweeting that ‘America is Temporarily Out of Order’ while Trump was president.
She supported liberal ideologies, including the Black Lives Matter movement. Her profile picture reads ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and a post last year celebrating the social media protest against racism called ‘#blackouttuesday.’
One post she shared in 2019 is a photo from an unidentified Women’s March overlaid with the quote, ‘Stay angry, little Meg. You will need all your anger now,’ from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.
The social media posts on Diana Toebbe’s Facebook account include one saying ‘Women Can Stop Trump’
One retweet from the her account in 2017, just days after Trump’s inauguration, shows a photo saying, ‘To the rest of the world, due to an insufficient amount of moral courage, America is temporarily out of order. We hope to restore service as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we in the resistance movement join hands with those around the world who realize we are one people. May the forces of good be with us. #TheResistance.’
The accounts her Twitter profile follows are mostly ‘resistance’ accounts in protest of Trump, including the ‘Rogue NASA’ account described as ‘the unofficial “Resistance” team of NASA’ on its bio description.
In 2016, she retweeted a post from liberal activist group MoveOn about former First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech criticism of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump for his treatment of women.
One retweet in 2017, just days after Trump’s inauguration, shows a picture caption:, ‘To the rest of the world, due to an insufficient amount of moral courage, America is temporarily out of order. We hope to restore service as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we in the resistance movement join hands with those around the world who realize we are one people. May the forces of good be with us. #TheResistance.’
Around the same time, she retweeted a post from self-proclaimed ‘activist against Islamophobia’ CJ Werleman which included a video of an Iranian-American discussing Trump’s travel ban with the caption, ‘Watch this video and then try to describe immigrants in dehumanizing terms such as “waves” or “floods.” ‘
She followed up with another tweet from an account called ALT DOJ, which describes itself as the ‘Resistance’ Department of Justice, that included a photo of people protesting the travel ban outside then-Senator Orrin Hatch’s office at the Capitol.
It’s caption read: ‘Scene in front of Hatch’s office right now. capitol police threatening arrests for seated protesters! #RESIST #TheResistance #MuslimBan’
One Facebook post on Diana’s account said ‘Women Can Stop Trump;’ while other profile pictures feature failed 2016 presidential candidate Hilary Clinton’s campaign symbol; a photo of the transgender flag; and various profile photos supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
Diana also retweeted an anti-trump tweet from TED Talk follower and cosmologist Katie Mack, saying the Trump administration suppressed LGBT right
One post she shared in 2019 is a photo from an unidentified Women’s March with the above quote about ‘staying angry’
Meanwhile, her husband appears to be a wannabe medieval swashbuckler who took sword-fighting classes and owned his own swords.
About two months after Jonathan allegedly sent a package of secret Navy information to a foreign…