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U.S. ex-soldier gets 30 years for spying

AFP-JIJI

A former U.S. soldier was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday for trying to spy on behalf of Russia, the Justice Department said.

In September and October 2012, Robert Hoffman II, now 40, a 20-year navy veteran, turned over classified defense information to FBI agents he believed were Russian, according to Virginia prosecutors.

In the navy, Hoffman was deployed on submarines where he worked with electronic sensors to collect information on potential adversaries. In that role, he was awarded security clearances and agreed not to disclose information to unauthorized persons, the statement said. During the FBI operation, Hoffman asked the undercover agents he thought were his contacts for “compensation for his activities in the form of job assistance or payments based upon the risk and effort involved,” it added.

On three separate occasions, he turned over “secret,” “top-secret” and “sensitive” information saved on an encrypted USB memory stick, leaving it, per prior agreement, in a hole at the base of a tree.

He was arrested in December 2012, charged in the spring of 2013 and found guilty after a five day trial in August in Virginia. His sentence was made public Monday.