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Ex-Navy man may be a spy



Date published: 12/7/2012

BY BROCK VERGAKIS

Associated Press

NORFOLK, Va.

--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.

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.