Violations of the Atomic Energy Act

Jonathan Toebbe pleads guilty to selling classified information about American nuclear-powered warships supposedly to a foreign country on Monday. It was revealed that the foreign government representative he was trying to sell the secrets to was actually a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) undercover agent.

Toebbe, 43, and his wife Dianna were arrested by the FBI last October as they had violated the Atomic Energy Act after allegedly abusing his position within the US Navy, obtaining top-secret government information, and proceeding to sell these documents containing the designs and performance of Virginia-class submarines to an unnamed country. It turns out that the FBI had been following his trail and that he was actually selling the information to FBI agents posing as agents of a foreign country.

“Among the secrets the US government most zealously protects are those related to the design of its nuclear-powered warships. The defendant was entrusted with some of those secrets, and instead of guarding them, he betrayed the trust placed in him and conspired to sell them to another country for personal profit,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division in a press release by the Department of Justice.

Pleading guilty before a federal court in Martinsburg, West Virginia, he and his wife now face prison time between 12 to 17 years with a fine of $100,000. He would be facing life in prison if he were deemed guilty for three counts of the indictment. However, he did plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to communicate restricted data.