On June 18, 2021, the UC posing as a representative of COIJNTRY1 emailed "ALICE" to provide detailed instructions on servicing a dead drop location in Jefferson County, West Virginia to occur on June 26, 2021. [...]
34. On June 26, 2021, at approximately 10:41 a.m., the FBI observed JONATHAN TOEBBE physically service a dead drop location in Jefferson County, West Virginia. Records show that JONATHAN TOEBBE is a government employee working as a nuclear engineer for the United States Navy and holds an active Top Secret Security Clearance through the United States Department of Defense and an active Q clearance from the United States Department of Energy.
People keep busting on them for having terrible opsec, but I dunno, I think they did ok. And I watched all six seasons of The Americans, so I'm kind of an expert on this.
But when the party that you are trying to engage in international espionage flips on you to the FBI at your very first contact, it's pretty much over.
The other surprising thing about this is, they did this for only $100k? I know that criminals aren't always the best decision-makers, but when you do the risk/reward analysis of something like this, come on! "On the one hand they might execute us... on the other hand, we could make as much money as six months' salary!" (Dude was a nuclear engineer, that job doesn't pay minimum wage.)