Robert Patrick Hoffman, a 20-year Navy veteran who retired last year as a petty officer first class, leaves U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Va. on Dec. 6. Hoffman has been charged with attempted espionage, accused of passing classified documents to individuals he believed represented the Russian government. (Steve Earley / The Virginian-Pilot via AP)
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A retired cryptologic technician allegedly attempted to deliver sub-tracking secrets to the Russians, but ended up caught in an FBI sting instead.
A federal grand jury charged retired Cryptologic Technician 1st Class (SS) Robert Patrick Hoffman II on Wednesday with attempted espionage, according to an FBI release. The former sailor earned a top secret security clearance while in the Navy, according to the release, and allegedly offered secret information to the Russians in October.
The "Russians" were actually part of an undercover FBI operation, according to the release. Hoffman, 39, was arrested Thursday morning "without incident" and is scheduled to be in federal court in Norfolk, Va., on Thursday afternoon.
Hoffman, who retired from the Navy in 2011, could face life in prison if convicted, according to the FBI. The Virginia Beach resident entered service in 1991, Navy personnel records show, and earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal and three Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals, among other decorations — including six awards for good conduct.
He retired Oct. 31, 2011, about a year before his alleged espionage.