New details of Diana Toebbe's background and possible motives materialized as she and her husband Jonathan, a Navy nuclear engineer, were indicted by a grand jury in West Virginia on national security charges Tuesday night.
Two dozen friends were interviewed by the New York Times, including one who revealed Diana had once remarked: 'I'm not doing this for the money' after helping a student work on a paper at the private Key School in Annapolis, Maryland, where she taught.
The Times' investigation paints a picture of a couple who were constantly worried about money for over a decade - among other anxieties - with Mr Toebbe repeatedly telling friends he needed to 'provide for his family' in 2010.
Despite being a talented graduate student studying for a PhD at the time, he joined the navy in 2012, a decision a friend told The Times was made to earn more and came after the couple lost their house during the 2008 financial crash.
Legal sources told the Times that cash was a likely incentive for the alleged passing of secrets, with the Toebbes offering nuclear submarine secrets for an initial payment of $100,000 in cryptocurrency.
Jonathan is proposed to have smuggled information out of his work, with Diana accompanying him to dead-drops. The pair now face life behind bars over communicating restricted data and conspiracy charges filed Wednesday.
Diana's horror of Donald Trump's election win was also noted by multiple acquaintances, who agreed she became notably more vocal about politics in the wake of his November 2016 win, and even spoke seriously about leaving the US.
Former student Garrett Karsten said Diana seemed 'genuinely distraught' by the Trump win, and appeared deadly serious regarding her plans to leave the country.
At the time, Jonathan was working on a Ph.D which came with a stipend of just $20,000, with the loss of the couple's house mooted as a possible reason for his application to join the US Navy, which would have offered a good and rapidly-increasing salary for a scientist as skilled as Toebbe.
They were bringing in a combined salary of $210,000 at the time of their arrest on October 9, with Jonathan Toebbe earning $153,000 for his work at Washington Navy Yard to design nuclear reactors for submarines.
They were arrested in West Virginia on October 9 and previously charged in a criminal complaint with violations of the Atomic Energy Act. The couple is due in federal court Wednesday for a detention hearing.
None of the friends interviewed by The Times said they expected the couple to one day be accused of betraying the United States.