National Security

Couple who pleaded guilty in espionage case tried to sell secrets to Brazil: report

A couple who pleaded guilty in an espionage case tried to sell classified information to Brazil, a senior Brazilian official and others with knowledge on the matter told The New York Times. 

Jonathan Toebbe and his wife pleaded guilty to conspiracy to communicate restricted data after trying to sell information regarding nuclear-powered submarines.

The former Navy engineer and wife were found guilty earlier this year but the identity of the country they attempted to sell information to remained anonymous.

One person familiar with the issue told The Times Brazil wanted their cooperation to remain confidential which is why the identity was kept a secret.

It is unclear why Toebbe picked Brazil to try to sell the secrets to as the U.S. and Brazil had a good relationship during the Trump presidency, according to The Times. 

Brazil informed the U.S. after they received a letter from Toebbe offering the information. 

The FBI proceeded to pretend to be a representative of the country Toebbe sent the information to. 

The FBI was able to trick Toebbe into participating in “drop-off” locations where he left some of the data four times at specific locations in exchange for money. 

Toebbe was accused of dropping off the information while his wife was found guilty of being the lookout during the incidents. 

The Hill has reached out to the FBI for comment.

Tags Donald Trump Espionage in the United States Jonathan Toebbe

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