World Teen - Main Article
Signup Teachers & Parents
Navy Spy Caught
News Bytes 10/12/2021 40 Comments

Two U.S. citizens suspected of spying will appear in federal court today. Federal agents arrested a U.S. Navy nuclear engineer over the weekend. Jonathan Toebbe allegedly tried to pass information about the design of American nuclear-powered submarines. Toebbe and his wife will face serious criminal charges—which could include treason.

The U.S. government says Toebbe sold information for nearly the past year to a contact he believed represented a foreign power. Instead, the person turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.

Agents arrested Toebbe in West Virginia on Saturday along with his wife, Diana. Toebbe had placed a removable memory card at a prearranged “dead drop” in the state, according to the Justice Department. (A dead drop is a location for leaving something which another person will pick up at a different time. This lets two people transfer that thing without meeting face to face.)

The Toebbes join a notorious group. Traitors engage in things that God hates: lying, devising wicked plans, running to evil, and deceit (Proverbs 6:16-19) to name a few. Probably the most wicked traitor was Judas Iscariot, who gave information about Jesus to the Jewish Sanhedrin for money. (Mark 3:19)

The FBI says the Toebbes’ scheme began in April 2020 when Jonathan Toebbe sent a package of Navy documents to a foreign government. Toebbe said he was interested in selling sensitive information to that as-yet unnamed country.

Authorities say he also provided instructions for how to conduct the secretive relationship. His letter said: “I apologize for this poor translation into your language. Please forward this letter to your military intelligence agency. I believe this information will be of great value to your nation. This is not a hoax.”

That package had a return address in Pittsburgh. The FBI obtained it last December through an office in the unnamed country.

The FBI used Toebbe’s outreach to launch an undercover operation. During the sting, an agent posed as a representative of a foreign contact. The agent agreed to pay thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency for Toebbe’s information.

After weeks of back and forth over email, the undercover agent sent Toebbe about $10,000 in cryptocurrency in June. He (ironically!) described it as a sign of good faith and trust, the FBI says.

Weeks later, federal agents watched as the Toebbes arrived at an agreed-upon location in West Virginia for the exchange. Diana Toebbe appeared to serve as a lookout for her husband during the dead-drop operation.

The FBI paid $20,000 for that exchange. In return, agents recovered a blue memory card wrapped in plastic and placed between the two slices of bread of half a peanut butter sandwich. The records on the memory card included design elements and performance characteristics of Virginia-class submarine reactors.

The Justice Department describes those submarines as “cruise missile fast-attack submarines, which incorporate the latest in stealth, intelligence gathering, and weapons systems technology.”

The memory card also included a typed message that said, in part: “I hope your experts are very happy with the sample provided and I understand the importance of a small exchange to grow our trust.”

The FBI conducted similar dead-drop exchanges over the next several months. Those included one in August in eastern Virginia. The Toebbes received roughly $70,000 for that exchange. In that instance, Toebbe concealed a memory card in a chewing gum package. The card contained schematic designs for the Virginia-class submarine.

The complaint alleges violations of the Atomic Energy Act, which restricts the disclosure of information related to atomic weapons or nuclear materials.

Jonathan Toebbe has worked for the U.S. government since 2012. He held a top-secret security clearance and specialized in naval nuclear propulsion. He had also been assigned to a government-owned nuclear power laboratory in the Pittsburgh area.

Some sources say Toebbe told the undercover agent that he hoped the foreign government would help him escape with his family if he were ever caught. At one point he said, “We have passports and cash set aside for this purpose.”

(The U.S.S. Virginia during its first sea trials. AP/Jack Sauer)

Leave a comment
  • Be respectful of everyone, including other readers as well as individuals in the news stories. Disagree politely.
  • Do not post links to websites outside of WORLDteen.
  • Keep personal information such as full name, age, location, and contact information private.
  • Read your comment before posting to be sure you have typed what you wish to say in public.
Sorry you are not allowed to publish comments. If this is the first time you are seeing this message please log out and back in. If you continue to see this message and believe this to be in error please reach out to member services.

Most recent comments

1st Comment!!!!!!

Oh. Well.


I realize that was an unclear comment, I just don't know what to say. :)

3rd Comment

I can think of a lot of things to say….. Busted! Traitor! You Benedict Arnold! How dare you?

Also, I wonder what country he thought he was selling the information to

It's good that the FBI caught

It's good that the FBI caught him

It's sad that people would

It's sad that people would betray their country just to get some money.

down with spies!

down with spies!

this is Micah

How long has it been since there was a spy? That is just crazy, all for just some money. Wow!

Death to Traitors

If he is convicted I hope they give him the full penalty for treason. Death.

still tho

even tho he was a traitor it would be really sad if he died if he's not christian and with wat he did he doesn't seem very christian


i still think lifetime of jail tho

its funny it was the FBI

its funny it was the FBI agent the whole time. I'm glad they caught him. I wonder what country he thought he was selling the info to. Probably China or Russia.

@ Stefan H

Yeah I know I thought he was probably selling the information to China until I saw that he sent it to a FBI.

13th comment

Though I wonder who the FBI guy was sending all this information too !!! dun dun dunnn!


It's been a long time since I've been on. Now there are two Micahs! And where is Riley? Anybody know? (if there were comments about that I missed those) I may not be on here after this month, bc I think my subscription ends soon, but I hope to still be on. Just in case I'm not on that's why I'm saying this.


wonder if they'll name the country sometime soon?

I’m glad they caught him

I’m glad they caught him

@ Asher E

The Bible says thou shalt not kill. Recompense no man evil for evil

this is Micah @Caroline

Sorry for not getting back to you about the Discord, but I will gladly give mine! lol it's Snowfall#2652

Oh my!

Oh my!

@Franz R

The Bible says "You shall not murder." This is different from killing. Look at the conquest of Cannan for example, God told them to kill entire tribes of people. If you look at it in context it says something different than how you are interpreting it.



@Braden J

It wasn't the Navy, it was some scumbag liberal inside the Navy trying to destroy our country.

Wait. these are all new

Wait. these are all new people on here! (Btw, i haven't been on here for a while, so caroline please fill me in on what's happened) (i chose you beacuse you are the main older person here)

@ Micah D

Yeah I have noticed that Riley hasn't been on for a while


@David, I guess a bunch of new people joined... :) @Anyone who is new, hello! @Micah/Ranen, thanks for sending your discord! I sent the friend request! My username is The Bookworm (I don't know if you'll see my nickname, but it is Clara Aura, just in case :))


ur giving everyone ur disc?


@Christian, uh, yeah. I don't accept random friend requests.


lol good wasnt planning on sending one ;)

I Cant Believe It!!!

One of our top-secret nuclear scientist would betray his country like this, so wrong.!!


I've been pretty busy with other stuff and school, and probably has riley. She might have even left!

@Riley D


So Sad!!!

So sad that people want to give up our freedom




It is super sad that they were doing this. I hope they are Christian.


It is super sad that they were doing this. I hope they are Christian.


I hope if they were doing this they learned their lesson. Hop fully the penalty is not death. By the way to those of you who want death to them the Bible does not want that.


so sad

To Above

Capital punishment is a Biblical thing.

When used in the correct

When used in the correct manner it is right, when used in the wrong manner it is evil.

good guys always win

good guys always win don't they?

Check out one of the interesting topics below
Explain IT!

Explain-IT trains you to understand the how’s and why’s of man-made inventions and ideas.

Learn More
Pop Smart

Pop! SMART provides tools that equip teenagers with the kinds of insights they need to wisely navigate today’s popular culture in a way that’s fun and engaging.

Learn More
Pie in the Sky

Everyone daydreams, and as it should be. Good dreams aside, our culture is a natural enemy of serenity and hope. God has equipped you for great things.

Learn More
People Mover

True stories are incredibly powerful. They bring meaning to our lives—communicating the truths we can’t afford to live without.

Learn More
Mud Room

Mud Room helps you relate to the news by exploring the details behind the stories in the headlines that relate to earth sciences.

Learn More
Globe Trek

Globe Trek will take you from the living room sofa to the mountains of Uzbekistan and from the screen of their smart phone to a Chilean plantation.

Learn More
Ka Ching!

ka-Ching! takes a look at important principles of money and economics through relatable examples from everyday life.

Learn More
Law 'N Order

Law ‘N Order captures your imagination through civics, focusing on the idea that everyone can make a difference in life.

Learn More

User login