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Because Hillary was never prosecuted: Trump pardons ex-Navy sailor sentenced for photos taken of his submarine

Because Hillary was never prosecuted: Trump pardons ex-Navy sailor sentenced for photos taken of his submarine

Kristian Saucier was convicted of a felony and served one year for taking 6 photographs on his cell phone.

President Trump just issued the second pardon of his presidency to the Navy sailor who took photographs of the classified areas of a nuclear submarine and was subsequently convicted of a felony.

The case gained national attention because the prosecution of Mr. Saucier contrasted sharply with the Obama Justice Department decision not to bring charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified material on her secret email server.

Mr. Saucier’s attorney unsuccessfully used a “Hillary Clinton defense” that argued his client couldn’t be held to a higher legal standard than Mrs. Clinton.

A federal judge in August sentenced Mr. Saucier, former Navy machinist, to one year in prison and a $100 fine.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reviewed Saucier’s exemplary service in the Navy during the formal announcement of the pardon.

The Navy machinist loved submarines, and took the photographs at a time cell phone photograph technology was relatively new.

Saucier served as a machinist’s mate on the USS Alexandria, a nuclear attack submarine, from 2007 to 2012. According to court documents, he used his personal cellphone to take six photos of classified areas, instruments and equipment in the sub — including the nuclear reactor — in 2009.

After being interviewed by the FBI in 2012, Saucier destroyed a computer, camera and memory card. Investigators later found pieces of a laptop computer stashed in the woods on a property owned by a relative of Saucier.

Saucier served his full sentence was released in September and returned to the Vermont home and back to his wife Sadie and their now two-year-old daughter. He hauls garbage for a living, the only job he was able to secure as a convicted felon. His wife notified him the pardon via text message as he drove his garbage truck through a mountainous area with poor reception.

Saucier told the Washington Examiner earlier this year that a felony conviction made it hard to find work. He works as a garbage man to support his family. While in prison, the family’s cars were repossessed and his home is in foreclosure.

“We’re struggling,” Saucier said in January, describing frequent calls from credit card debt collectors and an electricity bill payment plan. “No one will hire me because I’m a felon … All the skills I worked so hard for in the military are useless.”

Before the pardon, Saucier had several months left of wearing an ankle monitor.

“When Kris gets home from work, when he gets to the door, I’m going to be a little emotional,” Sadie Saucier told the Washington Examiner. “I can’t believe it happened, I don’t think it’s set in yet.”

Going forward, I sure hope Saucier has the career success that he has been denied. I can’t imagine him being pardoned by President Clinton, so this is another reason I am grateful we have President Trump.


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Strategically, letting him serve his prison term prior to pardon leaves Trump in a position to let Hillary serve her time before a pardon. One can dream of equal justice, but it is just a dream. His crime… still a crime.. was out of stupidity while Hillary’s was all intentional.

    ConradCA in reply to alaskabob. | March 10, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Seeing how Crooked Hillary betrayed the country while attempting to conceal her corrupt sake of the favors of her office, and how she has lied about it over and over she shouldn’t be pardoned ever.

    regulus arcturus in reply to alaskabob. | March 10, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    It also gives Trump a template to go after Team Hillary, and pardon them after a short period.

At the time Saucier understood that a photograph is a photograph is a photograph. What’s it matter that the device used to capture the image was ‘relatively new?’ In 2004 anyone could buy a cheap pocket sized HP point and shoot digital camera at Best Buy for $99, or a rummage store Kodak Instamatic for $2?

He took photos of top secret equipment. Likely transferred those images to a laptop-and then what? Forgot about them? Showed them to friends? Deleted them forgetting that deleted items remain on a harddrive until directly overwritten? The latter is no different than destroying photographs but keeping the negatives in a desk drawer.

I’m misunderstanding something here?

    Valerie in reply to Tiki. | March 10, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Yes, you are. Hillary Clinton essentially put the daily business of the US Secretary of State on public display, for those with the motivation to find it, and she was not prosecuted, due to her “lack of intent.”

    We cannot have exceptional standards for people, just because they abuse a higher public office.

      Tiki in reply to Valerie. | March 10, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Okay. Clinton Crime Inc. I get that. Remember William Safire declaring Hillary a ‘congenital liar’ back in the mid nineties? He took a lot of flak for that bit of plain talk. So, I’m just one of legions who think Clinton should be sent to the stripey hole.

      But how are Clinton and Saucier legally or even morally connected?

      Was justice served In Saucier’s case – independent of Hillary and Bill shaking down foreign governments for financial gain via the Clinton Foundation?

        oldgoat36 in reply to Tiki. | March 10, 2018 at 4:42 pm

        Connected mainly because the same basic law was used against the sailor, while Hillary had done far worse yet was never punished for it, under the claim that she didn’t intend to do harm. This is more about the narrative than the actual substance of the crime. At the time the sailor was convicted it was brought out that he didn’t intend to do a crime. The Obama administration stated that intent had no bearing on the law being broken.

          Tiki in reply to oldgoat36. | March 10, 2018 at 5:43 pm

          Saucier photographed sensitive military equipment aboard a naval vessel. He really should’ve known better. That’s not nothing. Ignorance of the rules is not a valid defense argument. We both know that to be true.

          Justice is rarely served. Just ask any well-to-do cutthroat corporate lawyer.

          The traitor Mr. Bradley Manning? Should’ve been hanged for what he did. But no. He walked free. Wearing lipstick provided for by an army prison warden.

          Milhouse in reply to oldgoat36. | March 11, 2018 at 5:56 am

          This is not true. The law Clinton was investigated for potentially violating was not the same as the one under which Saucier was convicted. And unlike Clinton, Saucier know perfectly well that he was breaking the law, and didn’t care.

          CalFed in reply to oldgoat36. | March 11, 2018 at 11:29 am

          @Milhouse “ And unlike Clinton, Saucier know perfectly well that he was breaking the law

          So, you are saying that Hillary did not know that it was a violation to maintain a private, unsecure email server and receive top secret communications on it?

          Ehhh…that is a little hard to swallow.

          CalFed: So, you are saying that Hillary did not know that it was a violation to maintain a private, unsecure email server and receive top secret communications on it?

          The government could not prove that Clinton knew there was classified information in her email. She used the secure State Department system extensively for classified information, and it’s not unusual for some information to leak onto non-secure systems.

          Milhouse in reply to oldgoat36. | March 12, 2018 at 4:24 am

          There’s a big difference between “hard to swallow” and “provably false”. But in this case I can well believe she didn’t know. People claim she must have known because it’s covered in the training she “must” have received, but there’s really no “must” about it. I think it more likely than not that she blew it off, and thus had no idea what she was doing.

    CalFed in reply to Tiki. | March 10, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    The photograph’s that Saucier took were not “top secret” they were “confidential”–the lowest level of classification and much less secret than documents found on Hillary’s server.

    The treatment that Saucier received stands in sharp contrast to that received by Sandy “Burglar”, Bill Clinton’s National Security Advisor, who stole classified documents from the National Archives, lied about it to investigators and was charged with only a misdemeanor and received probation.

    Also in sharp contrast to the treatment that David Petraeus, Barack Obama’s DCI, received after sharing TS-SCI documents ( much more highly classified) with his mistress and biographer and storing said documents in an unsecured drawer at his home. Petraeus also was charged with only a misdemeanor and received probation.

    And, of course, in stark contrast to the treatment that Hillary Clinton received, who was not charged at all for storing Top Secret documents on an unauthorized and unsecured home email server.

    As Valerie notes above, there appears to be two different standards for how mishandling classified information is treated by the criminal justice system and that is wrong.

      Tiki in reply to CalFed. | March 10, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      Justice should’ve been served in all those cases listed. But it wasn’t. And rarely is. Understanding how things work in life is just common sense. That doesn’t mean I approve it. It is what it is.

      And likewise, people thinking that to make things right that justice be under – served? That’s the same thinking that led to OJ getting away with double murders.

      But for me to pint this out? You get up in my grill? Purity Police bullshit. Same thing with your bull-s Oakland mayor CAPS ARGUMENT.

        The Packetman in reply to Tiki. | March 10, 2018 at 6:46 pm

        Tiki, folks are getting up in your grill because you’re willfully missing the point.

        Whether the equipment Saucier photographed was only confidential rather than top secret, a MUCH better case can be made that he had ‘no intent’ than can be made for Hillary Clinton.

        And yes, we’ve all heard the arguments and we mostly believe that Saucier deserved his punishment except …

        He was tried after Hillary was effectively exempted from the law because the FBI (or rather, her friends in the FBI) found that she had ‘no intent’ to break the law even though she clearly broke it. Sauciers attorney even tried to use that as a defense … to no avail (because it’s a stupid defense and intent is not a requirement of the statute). But it’s important for this reason …

        The American people see, more and more, that the law in this country only applies to some of us. President Trump understands this and I gotta think he pardoned Saucier in part because the American people need to see some justice, and it’s only Trump who will do it.

        The GOP won’t do it … the Democrats won’t do it … but someone by God needs to do it. Because if someone doesn’t, a wise man once said:

        ‘If the law won’t protect us from them, it won’t protect them from us.’

        CalFed in reply to Tiki. | March 11, 2018 at 12:18 am

        @Tiki “But for me to pint this out? You get up in my grill? Purity Police bullshit. Same thing with your bull-s Oakland mayor CAPS ARGUMENT.

        What you call “getting up in your grill” is what everyone else calls “disagreeing”.

        Why don’t you relax and try not to get emotional when someone has a different opinion.

      snopercod in reply to CalFed. | March 10, 2018 at 6:11 pm

      When I was in the Army, even the phonebooks were classified “Confidential”.

    David Jay in reply to Tiki. | March 10, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Actually, the photos he took were only of “confidential” areas, not Top Secret. Hillary had top secret info on her server.

      Tiki in reply to David Jay. | March 10, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      What’s the typical sentence meted out by courts – military or otherwise – for photographing sensitive military equipment on a naval ship ( and possibly distributing those images.)

      I worked on GAsFET components for military applications. I g-d guarantee you that photographing the simple 3″ x 1″ x .75 aluminum housing containg secret- level modules would’ve got me in serious legal trouble.

    tlcomm2 in reply to Tiki. | March 10, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    I believe that the classification of equipment in his photos was not top secret – Hillary’s was worse and spread much wider – but that really doesn’t make it much better. One year is enough.

      Tiki in reply to tlcomm2. | March 10, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      You happen to be the first person in a string of comments to acknowledge the most simple aspect of the whole story. Saucier broke the rules and got in trouble.

      I figure you are probably right in thinking that a year served is justice served. A dishonorable discharge is a life sentence and will follow Saucier around like a bad stink. Does he deserve that? I don’t think it fair.

        tlcomm2 in reply to Tiki. | March 10, 2018 at 5:09 pm

        I would be satisfied with a year in jail for Hillary too – that would probably be a life sentence anyway.

amatuerwrangler | March 10, 2018 at 12:57 pm

Where is the Go-Fund-Me account to help this poor swabbie erase the lasting effects of this?

I’m sorry, but what one can see of the equipment aboard any naval vessel is about what you can see while sitting in the front seat of your family car or while piloting an airplane. And, a good intelligence service will have a pretty good idea what equipment is aboard a US Naval vessel. Whet they might not know, for sure, is the exact capabilities of that equipment.

That being said, Saucier knew what he was doing and he knew, of should have known, the photographing the areas of the boat which he photographed was not authorized. There was never any indication that he was acting as an agent for any foreign power, or that he intended to release these pictures to others or publicly. However, he still knew that he was violating regulations and the law. Also, the sentencing guidelines called for Saucier to be sentenced to 5-7 years for his offense. The judge sentenced him to only one year and fined him only $100 dollars. This might seem harsh, but he got off light, compared to what could have happened.

Clinton should be charged in the Servergate case. If convicted, then it would be up to a judge to decide upon appropriate sentencing.

IMHO, Trump should NOT have pardoned Saucier. It might send a political message, but it does nothing for Saucier. He has still been convicted for a felony. And, he will have to acknowledge that if he is asked on a job application. It does not change his other than honorable discharge. And, it sets a bad example. I feel sorry for Saucier and his family, but he knowingly committed the act for which he was convicted. And, if you do the crime, you should do the time. This should be applied to HRC, and others in government positions, as well.

    tom_swift in reply to Mac45. | March 10, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    is about what you can see while sitting in the front seat of your family car or while piloting an airplane.

    Are you trying to say that’s not much information? From the dash you can see the design capabilities of the machine. Service ceiling, test depth, top speed, navigational capabilities, weapons systems … rather a lot, I’d say.

      Mac45 in reply to tom_swift. | March 11, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      “re you trying to say that’s not much information? From the dash you can see the design capabilities of the machine. Service ceiling, test depth, top speed, navigational capabilities, weapons systems … rather a lot, I’d say.”

      Without getting into exactly how instrumentation may be calibrated on a nuclear submarine, lets take a look at the control panel of your typical aircraft.

      There is limited to NO correlation between the graduations on most instruments to the capabilities of the machine. An aircraft may have an altimeter which is graduated to 50,000ft; yet only have a service ceiling of 15,000ft. It may have a speedometer graduated to 400kns; yet have a top speed of 200kns. Or the reverse, a machine may have a speedometer which only reads to 200kns, but has a top speed of 300kns, due to modifications. The fuel gauge gives one no indication of the range of the machine. Temperature gauges are a wee bit different, as they usually have some indication of the normal or safe operating temperature. But this is really of limited use, it gives no indication of how much heat is produced by the power plant under what conditions. Even at full throttle, the temp may never rise into the red. Or the temperature may rise to unsafe levels at 2/3 throttle.

      It is easier to get an idea of the electronic capabilities of various instruments, if they are recognizable and the person viewing the picture is conversant with their specifications. And, of course, pictures of how a power plant is engineered will usually give a knowledgeable engineer an idea of the parameters in which the plant can operate as well as illustrate innovative design elements.

      In order to have even a general idea of the performance characteristics of a machine, one has to have access to the verified specifications or observed data while the machinery is in operation. Most advanced nations are constantly observing machinery used by other nations while the machinery is in operation, as well as attempting to gain specification information on the machinery. And, those nations operating the machinery are constantly testing the performance of that machinery in settings where observation is possible. Russia knew the general capabilities of the SR-71 after it flew through their radar envelope few times.

      Operators have to be knowledgeable of the performance envelope of the machine which they are operating in order to be able to determine if the machine is being operated safely.

    willow in reply to Mac45. | March 10, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    He did do the time. The lesser sentence he received compared to what he could have gotten had nothing to do with the pardon. I am not sure how the pardon practically helps him, unless he gets his benefits back. His pardon will show up in his criminal history form what I understand. Maybe private employers reticent to hire will reconsider.

I made four deployments on fast attacks subs.

During my first deployment, my team wasn’t even allowed to go into the engineering spaces, even though I had a TS//SCI clearance. They were that serious about the security of those spaces. I didn’t mind cause I didn’t have a need to know.

I did get into engineering on subsequent deployments, but I can tell you that the idea of photographing equipment there or anywhere on that boat is simply anathema to submariners and others who deploy on them. It just isn’t done.

I don’t know what possessed the MM1, but he knows he screwed up. Hell, his actions after being discovered are as good an example of consciousness of guilt that I’ve ever seen.

I don’t think he should have been pardoned. A dishonorable discharge is too much, but the year in confinement was appropriate.

I won’t link this case to Clinton’s or any other elite who slimes out of punishment. As someone who still has a TS//SCI, I would fully expect to be slam dunked if I knowingly broke security regulations and did something similar to Saucier.

Having said that, the thing that really needs to happen is that people like Clinton et al need to be treated just like I would be if I had done the same that Crooked Hillary did: rot in the slammer. I really, really hope that PDT takes care of business.