Jonathan Toebbe and his vehemently anti-Trump wife, Diana, are facing a sentence of 20 years in prison combined for conspiring to sell U.S. nuclear secrets to a foreign country. Toebbe is a disgraced Navy nuclear engineer.
The story was first reported with less information in October, but now, the foreign power involved has been revealed as Brazil.
It all started with a curious and frankly unintelligent move when the liberal couple decided to court Brazillian President Jair Bolsanaro with the information. Bolsanaro, a staunch Trump ally and friend, accepted the offer, then alerted the United States and ran an undercover operation to catch them.
The Daily Mail reports:
A disgraced Navy nuclear engineer and his wife facing a combined 20 years in prison for to trying to sell secrets about American nuclear-powered warships approached Brazil with the classified information, it has been revealed.
Jonathan Toebbe, 43, and his Trump-hating teacher wife, Diana, were arrested last October after prosecutors said he approached a foreign government in an attempt to provide the nation with thousands of pages of stolen classified documents about the nuclear reactors that power the U.S. submarine fleet.
The identity of the foreign power had been concealed by federal prosecutors. It was widely speculated to have been France after investigators revealed the Toebbes had contacted a friendly foreign power, rather than an adversary.
Analysts allege Toebbe’s outreach was an ‘odd choice’ given then-President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had strengthened the alliance between the countries. Some argue at that time U.S.-Brazilian relations were the closest they’d been in decades.
That set off a monthlong undercover operation in which the agent made contact with Toebbe and agreed to pay $100,000 in cryptocurrency for the information Toebbe was offering. Toebbe was already paid $70,000 before he was caught.
The Daily Mail also reported that the Maryland couple has a Black Lives Matter sign on their lawn.