Former US Navy Sailor Accused Of Attempted Espionage


A man who served 20-years in the Navy was arrested Thursday on charges of trying to pass classified information to Russia on how to track U.S. submarines.

Robert Patrick Hoffman, II, 39, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was indicted by a federal grand jury for attempting to provide classified information to individuals who he believed to be representatives of the Russian Federation. The indictment does not allege that the Russian Federation committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case.

USS Michigan
USS Michigan

Hoffman was charged in an indictment returned Wednesday with attempted espionage, which carries the penalty of imprisonment for any term up to life, if convicted. Hoffman was arrested this morning without incident and was scheduled to make his initial appearance at in federal court in Norfolk before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tommy Miller.

According to the indictment, Hoffman is a U.S. citizen born in Buffalo, New York, who served for 20 years in the U.S. Navy until his retirement on November 1, 2011. While serving in the navy, Hoffman held security clearances that granted him access to classified and national defense information relating to programs and operations in which he participated, and he repeatedly signed agreements to not disclose that sensitive information.

The indictment alleges that on October 21, 2012, Hoffman attempted to deliver to the Russian Federation classified documents that revealed national security information. He is alleged to have carried out this activity with the intent to cause injury to the United States and to give an advantage to the Russian Federation. In fact, Hoffman delivered the information to the FBI, which was conducting an undercover operation, according to the indictment.

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