"Navy engineer accused of trying to pass intel in peanut butter sandwich"
|Court documents say Jonathan Toebbe began passing restricted details about Navy submarines to a person he believed was a foreign agent.|
Tim Stelloh and Ken Dilanian for NBC News; October 10, 2021.https://www.nbcnews.com/new...anut-butter-n1281191
A "sticky" situation for sure, when a man described in this brief report as a [U.S.] "Navy engineer" hid a computer memory stick with classified information about the Navy's Virginia class nuclear powered attack submarines in a peanut butter sandwich and passed it using the classic espionage "dead drop" technique to what he thought was a foreign intelligence service.
Both the man and his wife, who have two children, appeared in federal court earlier today, both wearing orange jumpsuits, before they were taken back to their jail cells.
They didn't have lawyers to defend them (yet.)
The first questions that come to mind are "What foreign intelligence service did they think they were dealing with?" and "Why would a married couple with children, who were both highly educated with PhD degrees and comfortably employed as professionals and seemingly set up very nicely in an affluent lifestyle, want to do this?"
I have an idea that they thought they were passing nuclear secrets to France's intelligence service, because of some comments about meeting what they thought were there "handlers" at some future time in a cafe over wine (if memory serves me.)
Think of meeting at a cafe over wine. Could be almost anywhere, but doesn't "Paris" come to your mind before any other place?
As to the "why", I cannot read much into the coverage that I have seen of this still very new news story that is just at its beginning. They were asking for money in exchange for more classified information--$5 million USD in addition to what they had already been paid in cryptocurrency by what they thought was a foreign intelligence service, in this FBI undercover, counterespionage "sting" operation.
The foreign country--whatever country that was--tipped the FBI to this couple and actively assisted the FBI in its counterespionage operation against this married couple.
One thing I learned in setting up this forum topic is that what I remember as "Jiffy" peanut butter became "Jif" peanut butter some years ago, and I didn't even know about the name change.
I don't eat peanut butter, except very occasionally when it somehow comes my way. I don't go out of my way to have it. Not even as Reese's chocolate and peanut butter confections, and I am so NOT SORRY about that.
[This message has been edited by rinselberg (edited 10-12-2021).]