The US Navy engineer reportedly ruled out Russia and China as too adversarial to the US to work with
US Navy Los Angeles class submarine slipping out to sea under cover of fog in San Francisco Bay, California, USA © Getty Images / NNehring
A US Navy engineer who admitted to attempting to sell classified nuclear submarine secrets to a foreign power reportedly tried to sell the secrets to Brazil. 43-year-old Jonathan Toebbe and his wife Diana Toebbe both pleaded guilty last month after being caught in an FBI sting trying to sell “Restricted Data related to the design of nuclear-powered warships.” Until this week, however, the foreign power they tried to work with remained secret.
On Tuesday, the New York Times revealed that Toebbe “approached Brazil nearly two years ago with an offer of thousands of pages of classified documents about nuclear reactors.” After Toebbe made the offer to Brazil’s military intelligence agency, it forwarded the information to the FBI, which then organized a sting to catch the US Navy engineer red-handed.
An undercover FBI agent posed as a Brazilian representative and convinced Toebbe and his wife to leave the sensitive documents in hidden locations. The couple was then arrested in October.