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Nuclear engineer the USS and his wife were accused of trading US Navy confident information for cryptocurrency.
According to a criminal lawsuit recorded 8th of October by the US FBI, Maryland-based married couple Jonathan and Diana Tobbe are conspiring to trade classified data for $100,000 in the equivalent of "the most confidential cryptocurrency" Monero.
Jonathan Tobbe is a former US Navy engineer who was a contributor to the Nuclear Power Plant Program. The specifics of the work and the passage of the check in the US Department of Defense allowed him to gain entree to confidential data related to the design of American atomic submarines. He later tried to trade it to a man who introduced himself as a foreign citizen. The catch is that this "foreign citizen" is a hidden FBI agent.
The FBI started to suspect Tobbe of trading Navy information in 2020, discovering that he had sent them a piece of classified data when they contacted him under the guise of another country's authorities in an attempt to negotiate a contract to buy more data and confirm their suspicions. Tobbe, in turn, was well aware of what he was doing, interacting with agents exclusively using encrypted e-mail.
During the correspondence, the couple transmitted data to the agent three times, hiding them is not the most obvious place. So, they gave the FBI agent information stored onto an SD card hidden in a pack of gum and half a peanut butter sandwich. On them, the agents obtained information linked to atomic reactors for US submarines.
Initially, the FBI agent gave the couple $10,000 as a "goodwill gesture" and a confirmation of the seriousness of intentions. For the data “in a sandwich”, he has already paid $20,000. A little later, having received another "portion" of classified information, the FBI transferred Tobbe another $70,000, after which they successfully detained him and his wife.
Both will now appear before a federal court on October 12, after which they will be sentenced.
This is not the first time the US FBI has used cryptocurrency in a crime investigation. In August this year, the agency proposed digital currency in barter for knowledge that could help detain terror suspects.
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