There was no shortage of Hollywood types, all of them left-wing cheerleaders for the Democrat Party, who vowed to “leave America” if Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016.
He did, of course, but none of those loudmouths who promised to leave actually did so — proving once again that a) they are monumental hypocrites; and b) America really is the best place on the planet to live.
Other Democrat voters also made the same promise but did not follow through. Two of them — Jonathan Toebbe and his wife, Diana — decided instead to ‘get back at Trump’ and the country for electing him by allegedly attempting to sell top-secret data on the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines to a foreign power. And, Newspunch notes, they both wanted to leave America after Trump was elected.
According to the UK’s Daily Mail, Jonathan Tobbe, a former Navy nuclear engineer, and his Trump-hating teacher wife, now face a combined 20 years in prison after approaching Brazilian officials with the classified information.
The couple was arrested in October after investigators said Jonathan approached a foreign government in a bid to provide thousands of pages of stolen classified documents containing details about the nuclear reactors that power the American submarine fleet (the U.S. Navy does not build diesel-electric subs anymore and hasn’t for decades).
The name of the country that they approached had been concealed by federal prosecutors, the Daily Mail reported, but initially, it was widely believed that Jonathan had approached France after investigators said the couple approached a friendly foreign power, not a potential adversary.
The New York Times reported last week, however, that a senior Brazilian official as well as others familiar with the case have since confirmed that Toebbe approached their government in April 2020.
“Analysts allege Toebbe’s outreach was an ‘odd choice’ given then-President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had strengthened the alliance between the countries,” the Daily Mail reported. “Some argue at that time U.S.-Brazilian relations were the closest they’d been in decades.”
“And despite the Brazilian government being keen to develop its own military technology, the country’s officials were in no mood to steal American secrets,” the outlet’s report continued.
The couple’s plot unraveled rapidly after Brazilian officials contacted the FBI, which set up a sting with agents posing as their South American counterparts.
Confirmation that Brazil was the country Jonathan Toebbe contacted came roughly one month after he pleaded guilty in federal court in Martinsburg, W. Va., to one count of conspiracy to communicate restricted data. Diana Toebbe, however, still denies the couple engaged in any illicit activity, but while he faces 17 years in prison, she is facing three years behind bars for her part.
The Daily Mail also reported on the Navy nuclear engineer’s thought process in contacting Brazil instead of a hostile country:
According to officials familiar with the investigation, the Toebbes selected Brazil because they believed the nation was eager to acquire nuclear technology and wealthy enough to afford to buy their secrets, but not hostile towards the U.S.
The couple reportedly believed soliciting secrets to American adversaries – such as Russia or China – was immoral, text messages presented in court revealed.
“It’s not morally defensible either,” wrote Jonathan Toebbe, according to court transcripts. “We convinced ourselves it was fine, but it really isn’t either, is it?”
Diane Toebbe responded: “I have no problems at all with it. I feel no loyalty to abstractions.”
Ultimately, the couple chose Brazil because they thought that officials there would eagerly accept the highly classified information. The Toebbe’s also noted that there were only a couple of nations that were not “overly hostile” to the United States and still capable of making good use of the stolen reactor designs.
Brazil began developing its own nuclear-powered subs in 1978 and has appeared to have an interest in the technology in recent years.
Had this transfer taken place, it’s likely Brazil would have also sold it, meaning U.S. national security would have been compromised for decades to come.