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The USS Indiana, a nuclear-powered U.S. Navy Virginia-class fast-attack submarine, departs Port Canaveral in Florida in 2018. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Navy nuclear engineer and his spouse were arrested in West Virginia on Saturday after making several attempts to pass along secrets about U.S. nuclear submarines to a foreign country, the Department of Justice announced on Sunday.

Why it matters: Although their plans failed, Jonathan and Diana Toebbe violated the Atomic Energy Act by attempting to pass along restricted data to another country, per the criminal complaint.

The big picture: “The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the press release.

  • Though his job, Jonathan Toebbe had a high-level security clearance that gave him access to detailed information concerning the U.S. nuclear submarines' design and performance characteristics, per the press release.
  • In April 2020, Toebbe sent a package to an unnamed country with a sample of the restricted data and instructions for how to establish contact.
  • Toebbe then began a correspondence with someone he believed to be a representative of the foreign country, but in fact was an undercover FBI agent.
  • Between June 2021 and Oct. 9, Toebbe orchestrated several so-called "dead drops" of the restricted data about submarine nuclear reactors in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.
  • His wife, Diana, accompanied him on these dead drops and acted as a lookout, per the criminal complaint.

What to watch: Both Toebbes are set to make their first court appearances this Tuesday.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Biden: DOJ should prosecute those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

President Biden speaks with reporters at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy subpoenas from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The president's remarks come one day after Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to show up for a deposition before the committee.