Annapolis couple charged with espionage allegedly motivated by money, hatred for Trump

by mcardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News



Jonathan and Diana Toebbe are expected to make their first court appearance today on charges of espionage following a grand jury indictment on national security charges late Tuesday in West Virginia. The Toebbes both face separate potential life sentences on charges of conspiracy and attempting to sell U.S. military secrets to a foreign entity. 

Following their Oct. 9 arrest, a disturbing picture emerged of a couple seemingly desperate for money and radicalized by liberal progressivism and deep-seated hatred for former president, Donald Trump.

According to the New York Times, Diana, a school teacher and vocal feminist, had become increasingly distressed over Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election, so much so that she often spoke of leaving the country. Sources say she was also deeply dissatisfied with her $60,000-a-year salary at the elite, private school where she taught, often bringing up the fact that she had earned a PhD.

The Times’ investigation also reveals that the couple was exceedingly anxious over money problems, which Jonathan Toebbe is said to have mentioned frequently to those within his circle of confidantes. The couple experienced a home foreclosure in 2008, which likely prompted Jonathan to abandon grad school and enlist in the U.S. Navy in 2012. At the time of their arrest, the couple’s combined income was $210,000.

As previously reported by FISM News, On Oct. 9, the Toebbes were engaging in their third “drop off” of restricted U.S. submarine reactor data to an FBI agent they believed to be in the employ of a foreign government, when he was arrested. Jonathan Toebbe, 42, is alleged to have contacted an unnamed foreign entity in April of 2020 with an offer to provide it with information he had been secretly collecting in his capacity as a nuclear engineer for the Department of the Navy’s Naval Nuclear Propulsion. In exchange, he asked for hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency, according to the Dept. of Justice.

Toebbe had active national security clearance, providing him unique access to operation manuals, performance reports, and other restricted data on U.S. Navy warships. The initial message was intercepted and handed over to U.S. authorities, who then embarked on a sting operation to catch Toebbe in the act of disseminating the restricted data. When Jonathan was arrested he had data loaded on SD cards that included schematics and performance characteristics of Virginia-class submarine reactors. 

While friends appear to have been aware of the Toebbes’ political and financial woes, they expressed shock upon learning of the couple’s arrest. “It just seems so out of character. Not very academic and thoughtful at all,” said Diana’s former colleague, Janet Monge.

At the time of the arrest, Mr Toebbe was working as a civilian engineer at the Washington Naval Yard where he designed nuclear reactors for Naval submarines. Having reached the rank of lieutenant, Toebbe retired from active duty in 2017 and subsequently joined the Navy reserve. At one time, he worked at the Pentagon.

The Toebbes are being held without bail following the court’s determination that they pose a flight risk. The couple has two children.