Ex-sailor pleads innocent trying to pass top secret information

May 16, 2013 at 12:49 AM

NORFOLK, Va., May 16 (UPI) -- A former U.S. Navy cryptologist pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Norfolk, Va., to charges he offered to pass classified information to undercover FBI agents.

Federal prosecutors alleged Robert P. Hoffman II, 39, a retired petty officer first class from Virginia Beach, Va., attempted to give agents, posing as Russian intelligence officers, information on tracking U.S. warships. In a new indictment, prosecutors claim he also attempted to give away top-secret information related to the United States' ability to track warships, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial was set for June 17, WTKR-TV, Norfolk, reported.

Hoffman's attorneys argue he was entrapped by the FBI agents who pursued him, although he attempted to report his meetings to them.

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