So just how does a couple from the hills of West by God Virginia get caught up in an international James Bond-ish type spy ring? First, the husband patriotically enlists in the U.S. Navy. Next, because a test said he was smarter than he looked, the Navy teaches him the ins and outs of nuclear power so he can assist with keeping their prized collection of “special” submarines operational. Next comes temptation…
You may already be aware of Jonathan Toebbe and his wife Diana being arrested earlier this month on allegations of Netflix-worthy sabotage and espionage. The couple was at their home in Maryland where Jonathan was stationed when the FBI busted in and dragged both of them away in handcuffs. It was quite the scene to behold.
Jonathan wasn’t quite as smart as the test had indicated when he struck up a deal with an undercover U.S. agent to pass some secrets along. The Navy’s been keeping the technology surrounding its highly sophisticated and outrageously expensive Virginia-class subs under wraps for more than obvious reasons.
Sure, the FBI set the couple up, but only because they had been under investigation since early 2020 and the agents had solid enough proof to spring into action. The couple remains in jail while further investigations continue, but perhaps the most interesting one of those just happened when agents ransacked the couple’s home. Diana is accused of acting as a lookout for her husband, and as such, has been equally as involved.
The agents didn’t have to look very hard to locate a plastic trash bag full of hundreds of shredded documents that are suspected of having been transmitted to foreign entities. Next came the $11,300 in cash they’d stuffed away for a rainy day because they couldn’t deposit it without arousing suspicion.
Then, the agents found the couple’s “go bag” crammed full of basic necessities should they need to flee at a moment’s notice. Also found in the bag were valid passports for the couple’s two children, a USB flash drive, the contents of which have not as yet been disclosed, and a box of latex gloves for leaving no fingerprints. The problem they encountered was that the FBI doesn’t give notice. They smash doors down and allow themselves in, unannounced.
Pittsburgh-based FBI agent Peter Olinits who works on counterintelligence investigations backed up the government’s demand to keep Diana locked up along with her hubby by producing evidence of her being a flight risk.
Olinits found messages dated between 2019 and 2020 where the couple had seriously considered leaving the country. One such message from Diana read, “I cannot believe that the two of us wouldn’t be welcomed and rewarded by a foreign government.” Sent a few months later, another message read, “I think we need to be actively making plans to leave the country.”
Edward MacMahon, Diana’s attorney, said the messages were in reference to the possibility of Donald Trump being re-elected to office. The couple is liberal and they were frightened by the prospect.
But this argument holds no displaced submarine water. Considering how Jonathan is an enlisted member of the United States Navy, to flee the country in fright would mean that he would have to go AWOL. Which, over a short time, would turn into charges of desertion. That’s a steep price to pay for not liking a president, don’t ya think?
Secondly, why would any country owe the couple a reward for moving there? This is not how these things generally work. They would become immigrants and we already know how the world feels about most of them these days. They would much prefer them to keep their asses home.
MacMahon also tried to sell the idea of the family going on vacation for the reason why the couple’s children’s passports were in the bag. But, not too many couples take flashlights, water purification devices, a compass, a manual fire starter, or huge wads of cash with them on an international journey, so there’s always that…
Suffice it to say, the Toebbe’s won’t be taking any country roads back to West Virginia any time soon, if ever. We can only hope a kind-hearted relative will at least raise the couple’s children better than the two of them were brought up.