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The FBI has arrested nuclear engineer Jonathan Toebbe and his wife, Diana, for trying to sell government secrets, plans for building nuclear submarines, to an unnamed foreign power. It turns out the agent of the foreign power was an undercover FBI agent. They were picked up doing a dead drop, Jonathan dropping off the secrets with Diana standing guard. Bad stuff.
How did they get caught? It seems that Mr. Toebbe solicited the foreign power by email. Apparently, this email was intercepted by the FBI. An FBI agent responded, pretending to be an agent of the foreign power.
Here is what bothers me. How did the FBI (or the National Security Agency or whoever) intercept that original email enabling the undercover operation? Does this mean that the FBI and/or NSA or someone else from the government is monitoring all emails sent by everyone to anywhere? Or are they just monitoring emails going to and from the unnamed foreign power?
I’m glad to see these treasonous criminals caught, but I am concerned about the methods used to catch them. What do those methods mean for our privacy and our freedom?Published in