FBI arrests engineer for selling US nuclear secrets hidden in peanut butter sandwich

By: Yuriy Stanislavskiy | 11.10.2021, 15:59
FBI arrests engineer for selling US nuclear secrets hidden in peanut butter sandwich

The FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) have arrested an engineer and his wife for trying to sell sensitive military data. On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Justice named Jonathan and Diane Toobbe of Annapolis, Maryland, as suspects in a conspiracy to sell information to a foreign government.

According to the records, for nearly a year, Jonathan - with the assistance of his wife - attempted to sell Restricted class data in exchange for cryptocurrency. Jonathan served as a nuclear engineer in the US Navy. While serving in the Navy, Jonathan, 42, worked in the Navy's nuclear propulsion program and had a high-level national security clearance.

on April 1, 2020 (what a joker!) Jonathan sent a sample of nuclear-related information to an unnamed foreign government along with a letter in which he wrote:

I apologize for the poor translation into your language. Please forward this letter to your military intelligence. I believe this information will be of great value to your country. This is not a prank. 

The message exchange went on for several months under the names "Alice" and "Bob." By June 8, the interlocutor sent Toobbe a payment of $10,000 in Monero cryptocurrency in "good intentions," and a few weeks later the engineer began acting.

Husband and wife traveled to West Virginia to an agreed-upon transfer location. While Diane took on the role of observer, Jonathan placed half a peanut butter sandwich at the "drop-off" site, inside of which was hidden an SD card containing information about the stolen nuclear reactor program.

The SD card was then obtained by a contact, an undercover FBI agent, who sent Toobbe another $20,000 in cryptocurrency. After the second payment, the engineer emailed the agent the decryption key needed to access the information contained on the SD card. The FBI was then able to verify the legitimacy of the data, and a second transfer was arranged at a cost of $70,000. This time Toobbe put the SD card in a pack of chewing gum.

Among the stolen data were schematics for the Virginia-class submarine, which cost $3 billion to build and are in active service and expected to remain so until at least 2060.

Source: zdnet

Illustration: Achim Scholty from Pixabay