Retired Sailor Charged With Spying: FBI Robert Hoffman caught by undercover 'Russians' By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Dec 7, 2012 12:03 AM CST 3 comments Comments A former sailor has been charged with attempted espionage. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – The FBI has caught a retired sailor trying to pass information to Russia, the agency says. Cryptologic technician Robert Hoffman has been charged with attempted espionage after he was tripped up by an undercover operation, the Navy Times reports. As a member of the Navy, Hoffman got top-level security clearance; a year after retiring in 2011, agents posing as Russians caught him attempting to transfer submarine tracking information, the FBI says. The 39-year-old was decorated six times for good conduct while in the Navy. A conviction could mean life in prison, the Wall Street Journal notes.