SPIES AND LIES: U. S. Navy Rocket Scientist Jonathan Toebbe & Wife Diana Can Get Cameo on Spy Series ‘Americans’ after their arrest for allegedly selling secrets of US nuclear warships
Jonathan Toebbe, 44, of Annapolis, was sentenced on November 9, 2022, to 19 years and 4 months of incarceration and fined $45,700. His wife, Diana Toebbe, 46, was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months of incarceration and fined $50,000. The Toebbes pleaded guilty to the conspiracy in August 2022.
“If not for the remarkable efforts of FBI agents, the sensitive data stolen by Mr. Toebbe could have ended up in the hands of an adversary of the United States and put the safety of our military and our nation at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “The FBI keeps American citizens safe from enemies both foreign and domestic and this case is an excellent reminder of their important work.”
“The Toebbes were willing to compromise the security of the nation by selling information related to naval nuclear propulsion systems. They are now being held accountable for their actions,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “The FBI and our federal partners have an unwavering commitment to protect U.S. secrets and will continue to aggressively investigate and expose espionage activities conducted on U.S. soil.”
According to court documents, at the time of his arrest, Jonathan Toebbe was an employee of the Department of the Navy who served as a nuclear engineer and was assigned to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, also known as Naval Reactors. He held an active national security clearance through the Department of Defense, giving him access to “Restricted Data” within the meaning of the Atomic Energy Act. Restricted Data concerns the design, manufacture or utilization of atomic weapons, or production of Special Nuclear Material (SNM), or use of SNM in the production of energy – such as naval reactors. Jonathan Toebbe worked with and had access to information concerning naval nuclear propulsion, including information related to military-sensitive design elements, operating parameters and performance characteristics of the reactors for nuclear-powered warships.
According to court documents, Jonathan Toebbe sent a package to a foreign government, listing a return address in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, containing a sample of Restricted Data and instructions for establishing a covert relationship to purchase additional Restricted Data. Jonathan Toebbe began corresponding via encrypted email with an individual whom he believed to be a representative of the foreign government. The individual was really an undercover FBI agent. Jonathan Toebbe continued this correspondence for several months, which led to an agreement to sell Restricted Data in exchange for thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency.
On June 8, 2021, the undercover agent sent $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Jonathan Toebbe as “good faith” payment. Shortly afterward, on June 26, Jonathan Toebbe serviced a dead drop by placing an SD card, which was concealed within half a peanut butter sandwich and contained military-sensitive design elements relating to submarine nuclear reactors, at a pre-arranged location. After retrieving the SD card, the undercover agent sent Jonathan Toebbe a $20,000 cryptocurrency payment. In return, Jonathan Toebbe emailed the undercover agent a decryption key for the SD Card. A review of the SD card revealed that it contained Restricted Data related to submarine nuclear reactors. On Aug. 28, Jonathan Toebbe made another “dead drop” of an SD card in eastern Virginia, this time concealing the card in a chewing gum package. After making a payment to Jonathan Toebbe of $70,000 in cryptocurrency, the FBI received a decryption key for the card. It, too, contained Restricted Data related to submarine nuclear reactors. The FBI arrested Jonathan Toebbe and his wife on Oct. 9, after he placed yet another SD card at a pre-arranged “dead drop” at a second location in West Virginia.
Dead Drop for Secrets Was in Chewing Gum Package and Half a Peanut Butter Sandwich!
SPIES AND LIES: UPDATE
Federal Judge nixes proposed lenient plea deal by DOJ and now the spies will stand trial
The agreement called for Jonathan Toebbe to receive between 12 ½ to 17 years incarceration for his role in the conspiracy, and Diana Toebbe three years for hers.
Though admitting the offer was far below the upper level in the sentencing guidelines, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared J. Douglas said the government was pleased since Jonathan Toebbe was “very cooperative” in detailing the data he stole. Nicholas Compton, Jonathan Toebbe’s public defender, said that his client now has a black mark for future employment and not only has a felony conviction, but will also never be able to have access to classified information.
Barry Beck, Diana Toebbe ’s attorney, added that being labeled a “spy” will be a “scarlet letter” for her.
After a nearly 40-minute recess, U.S. District Judge Gina Groh said given the potential harm the Toebbes caused for nothing more than “selfish and greedy reasons,” she was rejecting the agreement.
“Counsel, it’s not in the best interest of this community or, in fact, this country to accept these plea agreements,” Groh said. “Therefore, I’m rejecting them. I don’t find any justifiable reasons for accepting either one of these plea agreements.”
In rejecting the agreement, Groh read aloud portions of a victim impact statement submitted by Vice-Admiral William Houston, commander of the Atlantic Naval Submarine Forces. In the letter, Houston said the information Johathan Toebbe attempted to leak to Country 1 not only “irreparably harmed” national security, but also put 25,000 lives “at greater risk than before.”
“Mr. Toebbe captured some of the most secure and sensitive information about our nuclear-powered fleet,” Houston wrote. “A critical component of national defense has been irreparably compromised.”
Prior to concluding the hearing, Groh set a trial date for Jan. 17, provided a new plea agreement is not reached. If convicted, the Toebbes face life in prison.
They remain incarcerated at the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg. MORE
U. S. Attorney filed motion with Federal Judge to keep Toebbe’s incarcerated due to them being a flight risk, and the penalty for their crimes, if convicted being death or life in prison.
RANDOLPH J. BERNARD
ACTING UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
Jonathan Toebbe now has counsel from the Federal Public Defender Office
Nicholas J. Compton
Federal Public Defender Office – Mtg
651 Foxcroft Ave
Martinsburg, WV 2540
MOTION TO CONTINUE DETENTION HEARING
Comes now Defendant, Jonathan Toebbe, by and through counsel, Nicholas J. Compton,
Assistant Federal Public Defender, and files this motion to continue the detention hearing in this case currently set for October 15, 2021. In support, Mr. Toebbe offers the following:
- On October 8, 2021, FBI Special Agent Justin Van Tromp filed a criminal
complaint [ECF 1] against Mr. Toebbe alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 2274(a).
- Mr. Toebbe was arrested on October 9, 2021. A motion to detain [ECF 9] him was
filed on October 11, 2021.
- Mr. Toebbe made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble
on October 12, 2021. At that time, Magistrate Judge Trumble temporarily detained Mr. Toebbe
pending a detention hearing [ECF 17]. The Court set that detention hearing for Friday, October 15,
2021, at 11 a.m. The Court also set a preliminary hearing on the criminal complaint for
Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at 1 p.m. [ECF 16]. Undersigned counsel was also appointed to
represent Mr. Toebbe that same day [ECF 21].
Case 3:21-mj-00138-RWT Document 33 Filed 10/14/21 Page 1 of 3 PageID #: 79
- Given the nature of the charges in this case, and after having met with Mr. Toebbe,
Counsel believes that additional time is necessary to prepare for the detention hearing in this
- Counsel and the Defendant specifically request that the Court reset the detention
hearing in this matter for Wednesday, October 15, 2021, at 1 p.m., to coincide with the Defendant’s
currently scheduled preliminary hearing.
s/ Nicholas J. Compton
Nicholas J. Compton
Attorney for Defendant WV State
Bar # 11056
Federal Public Defender Office
Court grants continuance to October 20, 2021
PAPERLESS ORDER as to Jonathan Toebbe. For good cause shown, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s MOTION [ECF No. 33] to Continue Detention Hearing. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the Detention Hearing is CONTINUED to 10/20/2021, at 01:00 PM in Martinsburg Magistrate Judge Courtroom, 1st Floor before Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble. Signed by Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble on 10-14-2021. (dh) (Entered: 10/14/2021)
By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
BALTIMORE, MD. – Move over Mr. & Mrs. Smith we have the Toebbes of Annapolis ready to star in a new drama of spies and lies soon to play out in Federal Court. Just like the cable TV show in FX, the Americans, where a Russian couple posed as ordinary Americans, an Annapolis couple decided to sell American nuclear secrets to an American enemy, not yet named but likely the Russians or Communist Chinese.
While Jonathan Toebbe is employed by the United States Navy as a nuclear engineer, his wife Diana endorses socialist policies on her Facebook page and has been a teacher at an exclusive private school in Annapolis for the past ten years. The similarity of the Toebbes to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were convicted of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviets and executed in 1953 (see below) does not end with their spying activities. Both the Cold War spies and the accused Annapolis spies went to jail leaving behind young children.
The Americans is a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. during the Reagan administration.
Federal prosecutors say that Jonathan and Diana Toebbe, both of Annapolis, Maryland, were arrested in Jefferson County, West Virginia, by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
They had their initial appearances on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, in federal court in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
For almost a year, Jonathan Toebbe, 42, aided by his wife, Diana, 45, sold information known as Restricted Data concerning the design of nuclear-powered warships to a person they believed was a representative of a foreign power. In actuality, that person was an undercover FBI agent. The Toebbes have been charged in a criminal complaint alleging violations of the Atomic Energy Act.
G-MEN SAY THE COUPLE GOT 100 Gs!
Diana Toebbe posted mean things about Donald Trump on her Facebook page and right after Trump’s loss to Biden they went to work building their little crypto stash, according to court filings
Exclusive Annapolis Key School taught President Joe Biden’s grandchildren and the school filed suit to collect arrears tuition while Hallie Biden was living with Hunter Biden at the same time he fathered a child with a stripper.
July 1, 2019 — The Key School filed a lawsuit against Hallie Biden in March for not paying tuition. Biden owes the school $55,740.
Court records show that the lawsuit was settled out of court and dismissed voluntarily on October 1, 2019.
“The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The work of the FBI, Department of Justice prosecutors, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the Department of Energy was critical in thwarting the plot charged in the complaint and taking this first step in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
Jonathan Toebbe is an employee of the Department of the Navy who served as a nuclear engineer and was assigned to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, also known as Naval Reactors. He held an active national security clearance through the U.S. Department of Defense, giving him access to Restricted Data. Toebbe worked with and had access to information concerning naval nuclear propulsion including information related to military sensitive design elements, operating parameters, and performance characteristics of the reactors for nuclear-powered warships.
Spies Sent Secrets on April Fools Day!
The complaint affidavit alleges that on April 1, 2020, Jonathan Toebbe sent a package to a foreign government, listing a return address in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, containing a sample of Restricted Data and instructions for establishing a covert relationship to purchase additional Restricted Data. The affidavit also alleges that, thereafter, Toebbe began corresponding via encrypted email with an individual whom he believed to be a representative of the foreign government. The individual was really an undercover FBI agent. Jonathan Toebbe continued this correspondence for several months, which led to an agreement to sell Restricted Data in exchange for thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency.
On June 8, 2021, the undercover agent sent $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Jonathan Toebbe as a “good faith” payment. Shortly afterward, on June 26, Jonathan and Diana Toebbe traveled to a location in West Virginia. There, with Diana Toebbe acting as a lookout, Jonathan Toebbe placed an SD card concealed within half a peanut butter sandwich at a pre-arranged “dead drop” location.
Prosecutors say that after retrieving the SD card, the undercover agent sent Jonathan Toebbe a $20,000 cryptocurrency payment. In return, Jonathan Toebbe emailed the undercover agent a decryption key for the SD Card. A review of the SD card revealed that it contained Restricted Data related to submarine nuclear reactors. On Aug. 28, Jonathan Toebbe made another “dead drop” of an SD card in eastern Virginia, this time concealing the card in a chewing gum package. After making a payment to Toebbe of $70,000 in cryptocurrency, the FBI received a decryption key for the card. It, too, contained Restricted Data related to submarine nuclear reactors. The FBI arrested Jonathan and Diana Toebbe on Oct. 9, after he placed yet another SD card at a pre-arranged “dead drop” at the second location in West Virginia.
The Hillsmere Estates neighborhood where the Toebbes lived in a house just three blocks from the Key School. Neighbors told the Baltimore Sun that FBI agents swarmed the house for hours executing a search warrant and went door to door interviewing residents about their Spies Next Door.
G-MEN: Spies hid stolen Nuke secrets in pack of chewing gum and in half of peanut butter sandwich
Trial Attorneys Matthew J. McKenzie and S. Derek Shugert of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jarod J. Douglas and Lara Omps-Botteicher of the Northern District of West Virginia, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Lieber Smolar for the Western District of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The FBI and the NCIS are investigating the case.
America’s newest nuclear traitor waxes poetic about meeting his spymaster one day to share a bottle of wine and laugh about how he sold out the United States
100 Grand Buys a lot of trust for traitor selling out his country
Key School letter
The Head of School at Key School in Annapolis issued the following letter to the community:
Dear Key School Community,
On October 9, Key School was informed that Upper School faculty member Diana Toebbe and her husband, Jonathan Toebbe, an employee of the Department of the Navy assigned to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, were arrested and charged with a criminal complaint of violations of the Atomic Energy Act. The complaint alleged that they sold information concerning the design of nuclear-powered warships to a person they believed was a representative of a foreign power. In actuality, that person was an undercover FBI agent.
To be clear, Key School is in no way connected to the investigation nor any personal criminal activity involving the Toebbes. Like all of you, we were shocked and appalled to learn of their arrest and the charges filed against them. In the strongest terms possible, we condemn their alleged behavior. It goes against the values we stand for as a school and the example we must set for our students. Diana Toebbe has been suspended from Key School indefinitely pending the outcome of the investigation.
Key School fully 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.
Our top priority during this time is our students, and in particular, our Upper School students. We have been, and will continue to work on plans that minimize disruptions to academic programming and other activities Diana Toebbe was involved with.
We are also working on plans that will provide emotional support to our Upper School students. Our initial step will be a meeting with the Upper School student body that I will facilitate on Tuesday morning. If your student is experiencing any emotional trauma as a result of this news, our school counselors Jennifer Ford (Middle and Upper School students) and Erin Weiss (First and Lower School students) are available, and welcome outreach from you. Jennifer will be directly involved in formulating short-term and long-term emotional support plans for our students.
We understand that many of you will have questions about the events that have transpired. Like you, we are still gathering information and processing the alleged crimes committed by the Toebbes. This is a challenging time for our community, including the Toebbes’ minor children. Please keep them in your thoughts. Be assured that as more information becomes available, we will keep you apprised.
In the interest of the School and our students, we ask that any media inquires you may receive be directed to Kate Austin, Key School’s Director of Communication (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Head of School
HUSBAND AND WIFE SPIES ROSENBERGS’ WERE EXECUTED IN 1953
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were convicted of espionage and sentenced to death by Federal District Court Judge Irving Kaufman on April 5, 1951. After numerous appeals up to and including the Supreme Court, which ruled for the third time on May 25, 1953, that the high court would not intervene.
The Rosenbergs’ were convicted of giving nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. The Justice Department gave the Rosenbergs’ an offer to disclose what they knew about spy secrets and that action could be taken into account in deciding on any clemency pleas. Both President Truman and President Dwight Eisenhower refused to grant clemency.
Eisenhower said on Feb. 11, 1953, that their crime involved, “the deliberate betrayal of the entire nation and could very well result in the death of many thousands of citizens.”
New York attorney Emanuel H. Bloch fought to keep his clients from being executed up to the minute that they were electrocuted. Bloch represented many left-wing clients in his career involving civil rights cases. His effort to prevent the Rosenbergs’ from being put to death marked four execution dates being scheduled and then delayed until they finally got the death call, and the switch was thrown on June 19, 1953, in Sing Sing Prison.
At the burial for the convicted spies, Bloch stood at the graveside and was quoted in news reports as saying: “I place the murder of the Rosenbergs’ at the door of President Eisenhower, Attorney General Brownell, and J. Edgar Hoover. They did not pull the switch, true, but they directed the one who did pull the switch.”
Bloch, 52, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on January 30, 1954, from what was believed to be natural causes.
ETHEL’S BROTHER WAS INVOLVED IN STEALING ATOMIC SECRETS
The brother of Ethel Rosenberger, David Greenglass, was sentenced to prison for fifteen years for his role in the spying conspiracy and cooperating with the prosecution. Greenglass was an Army sergeant during WWII at the secret Atomic laboratories at Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1944. Greenglass testified at Rosenbergs’ trial that he turned over atom bomb secrets to his sister and her husband. Greenglass also testified that he passed atomic secrets to Harry Gold, a Philadelphia biochemist. Gold was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison and also testified against the Rosenbergs’.
A co-defendant of the Rosenbergs’, Morton Sorbell, avoided the electric chair and was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
JUDGE KAUFMAN SAID ROSENBERGS’ SPYING WAS SORDID AND DIRTY WORK
Federal Judge Irving R. Kaufman, who sentenced the Rosenbergs’ to die, gave harsh words to the convicted couple at sentencing. Judge Kaufman said that in his opinion, the treason of the spying couple led to the Korean War and as a result, 50,000 American casualties. He also said millions could die in atomic war.
“By your betrayal, you undoubtedly have altered the course of history to the disadvantage of your country.”
Judge Kaufman read from a prepared statement at the trial.
“I believe that your conduct in putting into the hands of the Russians the A-bomb before our best scientists predicted Russia would perfect the bomb has already caused the Communist aggression in Korea with the resultant casualties exceeding 50,000 Americans and who knows but how millions more of innocent people may pay the price of your treason.”
THE LAST HOPE TO STAY EXECUTION ENDED ON 5-4 VOTE AT SUPREME COURT
The judicial drama continued up to June 16, 1954, when on a five to four vote, the Supreme Court refused to block the execution. The vote to deny a stay of execution got the votes of Chief Justice Vinson and Justices Reed, Burton, Clark, and Minton. Voting to stay the execution were Justices Frankfurter, Jackson, Black and Douglas.
DECADES LATER, NEW EVIDENCE PROVED THE GUILT OF THE SPIES
Decrypted messages intercepted by the United States and sent by the Soviets were never used in the Rosenberg trial because they were deemed too sensitive to use in open court proceedings.
The National Security Agency said in 1995 that the intercepted messages show that the Rosenbergs’ were not only guilty but involved in much more than atomic espionage and were trying to gain information on American military operations. The messages that implicated the Rosenbergs’ in their spying activities came about due to the painstaking decoding operations by the predecessor agencies to the Central Intelligence Agency between 1943 and 1946.
This is the first time in nearly 100 years the name “Delaware” has been used for a U.S. Navy vessel. It is the seventh U.S. Navy ship, and the first submarine, to bear the name of the state of Delaware. Delaware is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; delivery of special operations forces; strike warfare; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and mine warfare.
The submarine is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. It will operate for over 30 years without ever refueling. Delaware’s keel was laid April 30, 2016, and was christened during a ceremony on Oct. 20, 2018. It is the final Block III Virginia-class submarine, before the next wave of Block IV deliveries.
200307-N-UB406-0047 NORFOLK (March 7, 2020) Sonar Technician (Submarine) 1st Class Ryun Lewis, right, demonstrates line-handling procedures to Sea Cadets from U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Alexandria Division, during a tour aboard the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Delaware (SSN 791), March 7, 2020. Delaware is currently moored pier side at Naval Station Norfolk as it prepares for its upcoming commissioning. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cameron Stoner/Released)
The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785) returns to its homeport of Naval Station Norfolk following the successful completion of their deployment, Nov. 25, 2020. While deployed, supported national security interests and maritime security operations at sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Alfred Coffield)