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American engineer wanted to sell information on the nuclear power plant of Virginia-class submarines

An engineer working for the US Navy and his wife were accused of trying to provide a foreign government with top-secret information about the construction of nuclear submarines, the New York Times reported Sunday.

According to the newspaper, citing court documents, Jonathan Tobbe was accused of trying to sell information about the nuclear power plant of American Virginia-class submarines.

“While rivals such as Russia and China have been looking for details of the power plant of American submarines for a long time, it was unclear whether the unsolicited offer was directed against an enemy or an ally,” wrote the New York daily.

He noted that Tobbe has worked in the army as a civilian since 2017. He was originally on active duty in the Navy. He has been involved in nuclear propulsion since 2012, including technologies developed to reduce noise and vibration from submarines that can locate them.

“The classified material includes projects that can be useful to a wide range of countries building submarines. As part of an agreement with Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom will help the country build nuclear submarines equipped with submarines with unlimited range. The propulsion systems are so quiet that they are difficult to find, “the New York Times stated.

The nuclear power plant is one of the most closely guarded by the US Navy because its reactors are fueled by highly enriched uranium, which can also be converted to fuel for nuclear bombs, he explained. Until a recent agreement with Australia, the US only shared this technology with the UK.

He hid the SD cards with secret data

According to court documents, New York Daily notes, the investigation into Tobbs’ case began in December 2020. The FBI received a package sent to “another country” with operating instructions, technical details and an offer of covert cooperation.

“Please pass this letter on to your military intelligence. (…) I think this information will be of great value to your country. This is not a scam, “- quoted from the leadership of the New York Times. According to him, the channel offered the secrets of the navy in exchange for 100 thousand. dollars in cryptocurrency.

The document describes how the FBI watched as an engineer, assisted by his wife, Diana Tobbe, sent information in exchange for payments. He explains that he hid the secret SD cards, among other things. in a peanut butter sandwich and a pack of gum.

“While working at the Bettis Atomic Energy Laboratory, a little-known government research facility in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, Mr. Tobbe may have had access to documents that he is accused of having turned over to an undercover FBI agent,” writes the New York Times.

He cites an excerpt from an intercepted document, claiming that the information “reflects years of US naval experience that will help keep your sailors safe.” Jonathan and Diana Tobbe, arrested Saturday, are due to appear in federal court in Martinsburg, West Virginia on Tuesday.

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