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  1. #1
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    Robert Patrick Hoffman Found Guilty in Espionage Case



    A retired Navy cryptologist from Virginia Beach was arrested Thursday on a charge of trying to pass secret information to the Russians.

    Robert Patrick Hoffman II, a 20-year veteran who retired last year as a petty officer first class, was jailed pending a bond hearing Tuesday.

    The charge of espionage or attempted espionage carries a maximum penalty of death, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the government would not seek it. The maximum otherwise is life in prison.

    Hoffman, 39, made an initial appearance in federal court Thursday afternoon. U.S. Magistrate Judge Tommy E. Miller told him he would be appointed two attorneys.

    The FBI conducted a sting operation that snagged Hoffman, according to an indictment handed up Wednesday and unsealed Thursday.

    Hoffman is accused of believing he was passing secret information to the Russians “pertaining to methods to track submarines, including the technology and procedures required,” the indictment says,

    But in truth Hoffman passed the information to an unidentified undercover FBI operative posing as a Russian, the indictment says. It goes on to say Hoffman should have known that the information passed would have been used to injure the United States.

    The indictment provides no further details of the undercover operation. It describes the information passed as “secret,” one level below “top secret,” and says that the unauthorized release of such information “could reasonably result in serious damage to the national security.”

    Hoffman, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., joined the Navy in 1991 and held a top-secret clearance by the time he retired a year ago. Three times throughout his career he signed nondisclosure agreements.

    Few other details are known about Hoffman. There was no answer at his home address in the 700 block of Holladay Court in the Aragona neighborhood. One neighbor said she did not know him.

    His Facebook page includes “likes” of “The Beatles” and “The Simpsons.” Of his 117 Facebook friends, four are from Belarus.

    When he arrived in court Thursday, he was wearing a green T-shirt that said “Bred to Fight” on the back and had a colorful print of a rooster. He answered the judge with yes and no replies but said little else. When he left the courthouse, he grinned at news photographers.

    Assistant U.S. attorneys Robert J. Krask and Alan M. Salsbury declined to answer questions after the proceeding. A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Neil M. MacBride said the office would have no comment.

    While there have been relatively few spy cases here, the Hoffman case bears striking similarities to the region’s most notorious spy ring – the John A. Walker Jr. case. Walker and his family members were convicted of, among other things, passing secrets about American submarines to the Russians.

    Walker, however, spied for the Russians for 18 years before he was caught in 1985. He is serving a life sentence but will be up for parole in 2014.

    http://hamptonroads.com/2012/12/exsa...spionage-sting
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  2. #2
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    Espionage suspect lawyers up

    VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - A former Navy sailor charged with espionage is due back in court Tuesday and has acquired a well-known local criminal lawyer to represent him.

    Robert Hoffman was a Petty Officer Cryptologic Technician in charge of tracking U.S. submarines and retired from the Navy last year.

    He is now accused of handing over top-secret information to FBI officials posing as Russians.

    Hoffman is due back in court next week and is required to have two lawyers because he could face the death penalty. WAVY.com uncovered Hoffman has hired noted criminal defense attorney James Broccoletti.

    Neighbor Jessica Holland was at home during Hoffman's arrest Thursday.

    "It was crazy," neighbor Jessica Holland said. "My two youngest got off to go to school. As soon as they hit the corner for the bus about 10 cars piled in here. All unmarked cars except for one police officer and then you see them all come out with vest and guns and then five minutes later Hoffman comes out in cuffs. They left, then five SUVs with FBI and NCIS agents show up and they were out there until 1:30 p.m."

    Hoffman was then brought to Norfolk Federal Court.

    "I was shocked... that was the last thing I would have thought. He just got back from deployment, just retired, you wouldn't think a guy would turn his back on his country after 20 years," Holland said.

    When asked about Hoffman, one of his friends said, "You can't fix stupid."

    Holland agrees.

    "He was very stupid," Holland said. "He lives right there and I would never have guessed that's something he would have gotten in trouble for."

    Hoffman was recently divorced - his former wife and their three children now live in Buffalo, NY. WAVY-TV affiliates in New York have attempted to contact her family no no avail.

    "He was very strange," neighbor Lynn Williams said. "He took some kind of shoe polish and wrote all over his truck, 'Just Divorced' and his license plate said kind of an obscene thing on it."

    In recent months, Hoffman killed all the grass in his backyard and took down five trees.

    "[I didn't see anything] other than him keeping to himself," Holland said. "There weren't many visitors. I have only seen two normal girls come over here and one of them lived with him."

    Hoffman remained in jail without bond and will be represented in court by Broccoletti and a federal public defender.

    http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/local_n...ect-lawyers-up
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  3. #3
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    When asked about Hoffman, one of his friends said, "You can't fix stupid."
    Yeah ya can!
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  4. #4
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    FBI Norfolk Division Press Release



    NORFOLK, VA—Robert Patrick Hoffman, II, 39, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for attempting to provide classified information to individuals who he believed to be representatives of the Russian Federation.

    Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s National Security Division; Juan C. Molina, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Charles T. May, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after the indictment was unsealed.

    Hoffman was charged in an indictment returned yesterday 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 is scheduled to make his initial appearance at 2:30 p.m. 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.

    The indictment does not allege that the Russian Federation committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case.

    This case was investigated by the FBI and NCIS. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert J. Krask and Alan M. Salsbury and Trial Attorney Heather M. Schmidt of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

    Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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  5. #5
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    Espionage suspect pleads not guilty

    A former Navy sailor charged with espionage pleaded not guilty in Norfolk Federal Court Wednesday morning.

    Robert Hoffman denies what the indictment alleges, accusing him of attempted espionage.

    His attorney, James Broccoletti, says, "He pleaded not guilty. He is convinced of his innocence and looks forward to his day in court." Broccoletti says Hoffman will pursue a vigorous defense.

    Hoffman was a Petty Officer Cryptologic Technician (CT) in charge of tracking U.S. submarines and retired from the Navy last year.

    He was arrested in early December for handing over top-secret information to FBI officials posing as Russians, allegedly on three separate occasions.

    On Dec. 11, Hoffman was denied bond in court. The federal judge called him a "danger to society".

    The judge said Hoffman's sole benefit in the case is that he has no criminal history.

    Because of the serious nature of the charges, Hoffman is represented by federal public defender Keith Kimball and criminal attorney James Broccoletti. The government has stated they will not seek the death penalty.

    A trial date has been tentatively set for June 17.

    http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/local_n...ads-not-guilty
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
    The FBI conducted a sting operation that snagged Hoffman, according to an indictment handed up Wednesday and unsealed Thursday.

    Hoffman is accused of believing he was passing secret information to the Russians “pertaining to methods to track submarines, including the technology and procedures required,” the indictment says.

    But in truth Hoffman passed the information to an unidentified undercover FBI operative posing as a Russian, the indictment says. It goes on to say Hoffman should have known that the information passed would have been used to injure the United States.
    Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh.

    I bet he telephoned or emailed or even walked into the Russian Embassy in Washington and thought he wouldn't be noticed. The Russians know this and often don't even bother trying to milk these idiots for useful intelligence anymore: instead they just turn them in to the domestic counter-intelligence services. Enormously amateur mistake...

    A Royal Navy petty officer who served on ballistic-missile submarines was caught recently trying exactly the same trick:

    LONDON — A Royal Navy petty officer who worked on nuclear submarines was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday for passing secrets to British agents impersonating Russian spies.

    Edward Devenney, 30, was arrested in March after a sting operation headed by Britain’s domestic security agency, MI5. He pleaded guilty last month to breaching the Official Secrets Act.

    “I have brought great shame to my family, loved ones and the submarine service,” said Devenney, from Northern Ireland.

    Lawyers said a series of personal blows preceded Devenney’s betrayal. He had been accused but cleared of rape, was depressed and had been drinking heavily.

    Prosecutor Mark Dennis also said Devenney had lost out on a promotion due to budget cuts and had been warned about excessive work absences.

    Three days before Devenney met the supposed Russian agents in January — a meeting that came after he contacted the Russian Embassy — he was warned he would be discharged if his behavior didn’t improve by April.

    It wasn’t immediately clear why the meeting was set up with the MI5 agents after Devenney called the Russian Embassy. Part of the court hearing was closed to protect national security.

    “The potential damage could have been considerable and could have harmed the safety and security of the United Kingdom,” Dennis said.

    Devenney, who had been in the navy for more than a decade, had been a communications engineer on nuclear sub HMS Vigilant when he contacted the Russian Embassy.

    He had security clearance to go into a room where secret encrypted material was kept in a safe though he wasn’t authorized to open the safe or have a code for it, Dennis said.

    Still, Devenney managed to take three pictures on his mobile phone that showed pieces of encrypted material which, if compromised, could have hampered the submarine’s covert deployment. He had also offered to give the agents details of the movements of Vigilant, the prosecutor said.

    “This was a classic story of betrayal,” said Mari Reid, with the Crown Prosecution Service’s counterterrorism unit. “Luckily for us, the men he met ... were not Russian agents, but members of the British Security Service.”
    I repeat: duuuuuuuuuuuuuh.

  7. #7
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    Trial begins in Norfolk for ex-sailor accused of spying

    NORFOLK

    Traitor or patriot?

    Those were the two portraits attorneys painted in court Thursday of a former sailor charged with attempted espionage.

    To prosecutors, Robert P. Hoffman II is a turncoat who was willing to sell out his country to the Russians for the promise of money.

    To defense attorneys, he is a proud veteran who embarked on a brave – albeit ill-conceived – mission to help the federal government ensnare foreign spies operating on U.S. soil.

    “The information was passed to aid the United States. ... He wanted to lure them in,” said Assistant Federal Public Defender Keith Kimball, one of two attorneys representing Hoffman in U.S. District Court. “He was acting, perhaps foolishly, but not criminally.”

    Hoffman, 40, a retired petty officer first class from Virginia Beach, is accused of passing classified information to undercover FBI agents posing as Russian intelligence officers. The crime carries a possible death sentence, but federal prosecutors say they will not pursue that penalty.

    According to opening statements, Hoffman retired from the Navy in November 2011 after serving 20 years. He spent most of his career on submarines, working as a cryptologic technician.

    The case stems from a so-called “false flag” operation the FBI launched after learning Hoffman had spent three weeks in Eastern Europe in late 2011. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Salsbury said the FBI sent Hoffman a letter in 2012 that purported to be from Moscow. It contained a Russian medal and asked Hoffman whether he would be willing to provide “technical expertise.”

    Hoffman quickly agreed. Salsbury said Hoffman and his handler, an FBI agent using the pseudonym “Vladimir,” communicated via email and a series of dead drops at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. The two signaled each other when items were ready to be picked up by sticking electrical tape to a map at the park.

    Hoffman made three drops in all. During the third visit, he provided his handlers with information about how to track American submarines and how the U.S. tracks foreign warships. The government has designated the information “secret” and “top secret,” Salsbury said.

    Kimball countered that his client had no desire to harm the United States. He noted Hoffman approached the FBI in Norfolk after the third drop. He brought with him a diary he’d been keeping about his one-man mission, as well as a copy of the information he’d already provided his handlers and even some tape his handlers had touched. He hoped the FBI could get DNA or a fingerprint from the tape, Kimball said.

    Kimball added that Hoffman spoke openly with his friends about his trip to Belarus – he’d met four women in Bahrain who were from the country – and even the medal he received from Moscow.

    The trial is expected to last into next week.

    http://hamptonroads.com/2013/08/tria...accused-spying
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  8. #8
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    Attempted espionage trial to wrap up in Norfolk

    NORFOLK

    The case of a retired sailor from Virginia Beach charged with attempted espionage is expected to go to a jury today in U.S. District Court

    This morning, prosecutors and defense attorneys are set to argue their respective points.

    Robert Patrick Hoffman II, 40, is accused of passing classified information to undercover FBI agents posing as Russian intelligence officers. The crime carries a possible death sentence, but federal prosecutors are not pursuing that penalty.

    The case stems from a so-called "false flag" operation that the FBI launched in 2012 after learning Hoffman had spent three weeks the year before in Eastern Europe. The FBI sent Hoffman a letter that purported to be from Moscow and sought Hoffman's "technical expertise."

    Hoffman, who spent most of his 20-year career working on submarines as a cryptologic technician, quickly agreed, witnesses said.

    Hoffman made three trips to First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach in late 2012 to drop off information. During the third visit, he provided his handlers with a flash drive containing documents showing how to track American submarines and how the U.S. tracks foreign warships. The information was classified as "secret" and "top secret," witnesses said.

    Defense attorneys say Hoffman had no desire to harm the United States. They noted that he approached the FBI in Norfolk on Oct. 31, 2012, after the third drop and asked for their help in catching his handlers.

    http://hamptonroads.com/2013/08/atte...l-wrap-norfolk
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  9. #9
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    A former US Navy petty officer could be jailed for life after being convicted of attempted espionage for trying to pass classified information to people he thought worked for Russia, but were really US investigators.

    A federal jury in Virginia took just 90 minutes on Wednesday to find Robert Patrick Hoffman II, 40, guilty.

    Prosecutors said Hoffman, who spent most of his 20 years in the Navy working on submarines as a cryptologic technician, and had top secret security clearance, last year gave classified information about how to track US submarines and how the United States tracks foreign warships, to people he believed were Russian operatives.

    The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began investigating Hoffman last year after learning that he spent three weeks in Belarus in 2011 and met President Alexander Lukashenko, wrote a reporter for the Virginian-Pilot, who covered the case.

    In September last year, the FBI sent Hoffman a letter, which purported to be an offer from Russian government agents in Moscow who offered him "generous compensation" in exchange for technical information.

    Assistant US Attorney Alan Salsbury said Hoffman made three “drops” at a state park in Virginia after receiving the letter. One of the drops contained a flash drive with copies of documents, some marked “top secret,” that showed how to track American submarines and how the United States tracks foreign warships.

    Hoffman’s attorneys said in his defense that he went to the FBI after the third drop and asked for help catching his contacts. Witnesses testified that Hoffman never asked for or received compensation for providing the information.

    Hoffman, who retired from the Navy in 2011 with the rank of petty officer first class, will be sentenced in December.

    http://interceder.net/latest_news/Ro...ick-Hoffman-II
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