US couple arrested for selling nuclear warship data

A US couple has been arrested in the state of West Virginia for allegedly selling information on nuclear warships to what they believed was a foreign state, the Justice Department said Sunday.

Jonathan Toebbe, 42, who worked as a nuclear engineer for the US Navy, and his wife Diana, 45, were arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Saturday and charged with violating the Atomic Energy Act in a criminal complaint, the Justice Department said in a statement.

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For nearly a year, the couple “sold information known as restricted data concerning the design of nuclear-powered warships to a person they believed was a representative of a foreign power,” the statement said, adding that the recipient of the information was, in fact, an undercover FBI agent.

US nuclear-powered submarines were at the center of a major diplomatic crisis between Paris and Washington last month when Australia scrapped a large contract to buy submarines from France.

Toebbe, who was based in Annapolis, Maryland and had access to restricted data on nuclear-powered warships through his work, collaborated with his wife to exchange data on submarine nuclear reactors for around $100,000 in cryptocurrency, the complaint affidavit alleges.

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