A U.S. Navy nuclear engineer and his wife were poised to leave the United States after selling confidential information of nuclear submarine designs to foreign clients, prosecutors said.
According to Politico, Diana and Jonathan Toebbe, a 45 and 42-year-old from Annapolis, Maryland, already had cash, rubber gloves, a cryptocurrency wallet, and their children’s passports ready to leave their homeland.
The defense attorney said Mrs. Toebbe, as a liberal, was preparing to depart the U.S. over her disappointment if former president Donald Trump was elected.
While FBI Special Agent Peter Olinits agreed he saw details suggesting the claims, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Smolar dismissed it.
“The motivation for that is irrelevant,” Smolar said. “Whatever triggered her to aid and abet her husband with this very serious federal crime hasn’t gone away.”
They were arrested on Oct. 9 as they made the third exchange of the SD cards containing the “Restricted Data” that would repay them $70,000.
The pair received a total of $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency for all of their successful exchanges. However, for the complete thousands of pages of classified nuclear submarine information, they were looking for $5 million.
The memory cards were left at a “dead drop” location camouflaged inside half a sandwich, Dentyne gum wrappers, and even a Band-Aid.
Their client happened to be an undercover FBI agent posing as a foreign representative. It was suggested he was acting for a country wanting to develop a nuclear submarine program.
The news agency added that Jonathan Toebbe had abandoned his choice to challenge detention as a civilian employee at the Washington Navy Yard.
The attorneys for his wife, Mrs. Diana Toebbe, mother of an 11-year-old and a 15-year-old, requested pretrial release. She was charged with helping her husband commit the misdeed.
The FBI said they had evidence she accompanied her spouse each time he “dead dropped” the SD card. Her defense attorneys argued she might not have been aware of what business her husband was doing.
“You don’t have any idea what Mr. Toebbe told Mrs. Toebbe he was doing,” the defense lawyer said, noting the FBI had failed to bug the accused in this investigation.