Former sailor charged with attempted espionage
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — An ex-sailor has been charged with attempted espionage, accused of passing classified documents to individuals he believed represented the Russian government.
Robert Patrick Hoffman, 39, of Virginia Beach, Va. made an initial appearance in federal court on Thursday. He did not have an attorney present.
According to the indictment, Hoffman attempted to hand over secret documents on Oct. 21 that detailed how to track U.S. submarines. The indictment says Hoffman actually delivered the information to the FBI, which was conducting an undercover operation.
It doesn’t specify whether Hoffman was going to be paid for the information, but the indictment says he did so with “intent and reason to believe that such information was to be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation, namely the Russian Federation.”
The indictment does not allege that the Russian Federation committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case.
Hoffman was a cryptologic technician in the Navy who held top secret clearance and retired in November 2011. The indictment does not specify where Hoffman served in the Navy, but Norfolk serves as the headquarters for the U.S. submarine force as well as numerous other Navy commands.
Hoffman, originally from Buffalo, N.Y., served in the Navy for 20 years, and retired with the rank of petty officer first class. In 1992, 2001 and 2009, Hoffman signed classified information non-disclosure agreements with the U.S. government, according to the indictment
If convicted, Hoffman could face up to life in prison. A detention hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
Source: The Associated Press