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The couple, who tried to sell American nuclear secrets, fell

The couple, who tried to sell American nuclear secrets, fell

(CNN) – The Maryland couple were arrested and charged with attempting to sell U.S. nuclear secrets to another country in exchange for cryptocurrencies after a year-long operation by secret FBI agents.

U.S. Navy nuclear engineer Jonathan Tobey and his wife Diana were arrested by the FBI and Navy Criminal Investigation Service in West Virginia for allegedly selling information about the couple’s design of a U.S. nuclear warship. According to the Justice Department, “to a person they believe is a representative of a foreign power but in fact a secret FBI agent.”

Newspaper Washington Post Report for the first time about an alleged spy plan.

The Department of Justice said it had access to information on naval nuclear propulsion and sensitive military design components, including “operating parameters and performance characteristics of reactors for nuclear warships.”

In a criminal complaint justifying the arrest, an FBI agent allegedly sent a package to a foreign government in April 2020 voluntarily to sell nuclear secrets, and several months later a secret FBI agent responded with an encrypted email. Contacted him. According to the complaint, the broker worked to gain Dopey’s trust before agreeing to sell the information on crypto for thousands of dollars.

According to the complaint, the FBI “carried out an operation in the Washington, D.C. area, in an attempt to gain good faith with ‘Alice’ (foreign government) by placing an identification mark on the relevant place. Used as aliases when writing emails.

As a covert tool used by spies to send a “stumbling block” or secret information when Tobey believes it, the FBI Location in West Virginia. The couple has been charged with violating nuclear law, which prohibits anyone with access to confidential information from sharing that information. In the complaint, Toby sought to “communicate, send and disclose the same matter to another person with the intent of harming the United States and gaining an advantage over a foreign country.”

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It is unclear whether the pair have yet to appoint a lawyer.

Building trust

In a bid to build trust during the extensive correspondence, the FBI was able to send a signal to Topi from a building containing the country’s anonymous diplomats.

After gaining Toby’s trust, the agent tried to persuade him to meet Tobey in person, but he was concerned about Toby being caught. The agent suggested using a barrier where he chose. In March 2021, Toby wrote: “I’m worried that using a Dead End location made by your friend will hurt me too much. If other stakeholders look at that place, I can not find them.”

He said he was worried about getting cash because he could find serial numbers, according to an FBI criminal complaint, and “should consider tracking devices and other bad surprises.”

In April 2021, Toby wrote, “Do you have any physical identification to prove your identity? I plan to go to Washington DC on Memorial Day weekend. I’m going to be another tourist at the meeting. But is there anything that arouses the suspicion of the enemy (sic)? “

The secret agent replied: “We will install a signal that can be seen from the street from our main building. It will comfort you with a signal from the area inside our property. [sic]. If you agree, please confirm. “

Instead, Topeb is said to have suggested the use of decentralized cryptocurrency monero because “it gives us two excellent denials.” In the email quoted in the case, Toby is said to have handed over an SD card containing several hundred pages of technical data. After he confirmed the receipt of the cryptocurrency, Tobey wrote, “I will give you the password.”

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“I will not use the same delivery location twice. Each time I give you a new Monero address. The encryption key will be different each time. There are no third party noticeable patterns.” Electronic fingerprint

In June 2021, Toby and his wife flew to West Virginia, where the FBI reported that Tobey “put a hidden SD card inside a pretzel half-peanut butter sandwich.”

After recovering the SD card, the secret agent sent a $ 20,000 cryptocurrency payment to Toby and, according to the complaint, Tobey responded with an explanatory key. The FBI “opened the issued SD card and provided the contents,” a U.S. Navy Specialist said, confirming the information was classified.

A correspondence is in progress

The FBI says Toppie maintained a relationship with a secret agent who caused another stalemate in August 2021 in East Virginia, where he left his home in Annapolis, Maryland and was under FBI surveillance.

The complaint states: “The FBI has identified Jonathan Dope as working in a stalemate in East Virginia.

“Subsequently, the FBI opened the SD card and provided the contents to the U.S. Navy Material Specialist. High-speed assault submarines with missiles, the latest piracy technology, intelligence collection and weapons systems are included, ”the criminal complaint said.

In another exchange listed in the complaint, Toby explained how he received all the classified information: “In my work practice I was very careful to collect the files I had slowly and naturally so that no one would suspect my plan. We received training on warning signs for internal threats. We were not showing anyone. I do not think any of my former colleagues would suspect me if there was a future investigation.

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He added: “I considered it necessary to leave short notice. If it is necessary, I will be forever grateful for your help in evacuating me and my family. I think the first step is to travel without being informed. We have the money and I hope such action is never needed, ”he said.

Toby said he hopes to meet his foreign handler one day and have some drinks, and unknowingly wrote to the FBI agent: “Dude, thank you for your partnership to meet in a cafe, share a bottle of wine and laugh at the stories of their shared exploits. A good thought.” , But I agree that the mutual need for our security makes it impossible. Whether we meet or not. Always remember your courage in serving your country and your commitment to helping me. “