Ex-US sailor charged with attempting to spy for Russia

6th December 2012, Comments 0 comments

A retired US sailor thought he was selling submarine tracking secrets to Russia -- but he was really dealing with undercover FBI agents. Now Robert Patrick Hoffman could go to prison for life for attempted espionage.

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Hoffman, 39, for "attempting to provide classified information to individuals who he believed to be representatives of the Russian Federation," the US Justice Department said.

Hoffman, a 20 year US Navy veteran, held security clearances while he was in the navy that gave him access to classified data.

On October 21, Hoffman allegedly attempted to sell "information classified as SECRET that revealed and pertained to methods to track US submarines," the indictment read.

He believed that "such information was to be used to the injury of the United States" and to the advantage of Russia, the indictment continued.

Hoffman, however, was handing the information to agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, conducting an undercover sting operation.

The Justice Department said the indictment "does not allege that the Russian Federation committed any offense under US laws in this case."

© 2012 AFP

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