Jonathan Toebbe reportedly sent a restricted data packet to an unidentified country last year and then started selling secrets to an undercover FBI agent posing as a foreign official, the Justice Department said.
In exchange for this information, he received separate cryptocurrency payments totaling $ 100,000 (£ 73,500).
At one point, the 42-year-old hid a digital memory card containing nuclear reactor documents in a half peanut butter sandwich in a ‘dead’ location in West Virginia, with his wife Diana as a lookout .
A Dead Fall is an old-fashioned spy trick in which a source leaves a valuable item in an agreed-upon hiding place for a recipient to retrieve undetected.
The card contained “militarily sensitive design elements, operating parameters and performance characteristics of Virginia-class submarine reactors,” according to federal court documents.
Another memory card was hidden in a packet of chewing gum.
All along, Toebbe had a high level secret security clearance.
He and his wife, from Annapolis, Md., Were arrested in West Virginia on Saturday.
They have both been charged with conspiracy and “restricted data disclosure” in violation of atomic energy law, and are scheduled to appear in West Virginia federal court on Tuesday.