US Navy engineer pleads guilty to trying to sell nuclear secrets using 'peanut butter sandwich'

WION Web Team
Washington Updated: Feb 15, 2022, 10:01 AM(IST)

Jonathan Toebbe and his wife Diana were arrested by prosecutors for trying to sell information about submarines (representative image).  Photograph:( Reuters )

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The potential punishment for the crime agreed to by lawyers seems to be from 12 to 17 years in prison. During the plea hearing, Toebbe acknowledged conspiring to pass classified information to a foreign government, causing "injury to the United States”. Toebbe has also agreed to help federal officials in locating all classified information in his possession and roughly $100,000 in cryptocurrency, which was paid to him

A US Navy nuclear engineer, who used a peanut butter sandwich to try to sell nuclear secrets, pleaded guilty on Monday.   

The 43-year-old engineer was trying to pass information about American nuclear-powered warships to a foreign country.  

In federal court in Martinsburg, West Virginia, Jonathan Toebbe pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to share restricted data.   

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The potential punishment for the crime agreed to by lawyers seems to be from 12 to 17 years in prison.  

In October 2021, Toebbe and his wife Diana were arrested by prosecutors for trying to repeatedly sell information about the submarines to someone they thought to be a representative of a foreign government. But the person was actually an undercover FBI agent.   

During the plea hearing, Toebbe acknowledged conspiring to pass classified information to a foreign government, causing "injury to the United States”.  

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Diana Toebbe was accused of serving as a lookout at several prearranged 'dead-drop' locations where her husband deposited memory cards containing government secrets. They used to conceal them in objects, such as a Band-Aid wrapper, a chewing gum wrapper and a peanut butter sandwich.   

Diana has pleaded not guilty and the case against her still remains pending.  

Toebbe has also agreed to help federal officials in locating all classified information in his possession and roughly $100,000 in cryptocurrency, which was paid to him.   

(With inputs from agencies) 

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