Machinist Mate 1st Class Kristian Saucier is facing up to 20 years in prison after a dump supervisor found his phone that contained numerous photos of classified areas of the LA-based nuclear submarine Alexandria.
The supervisor in Hampton, Connecticut immediately showed his friend, a retired Navy chief, who took them to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.The concern was that Saucier had intent to share these photos and that he was attempting to destroy the evidence which was his phone.
Images of special concern were ones of control panels, a panoramic view of the retractor compartment and a panel that gave the condition and location of the sub at the time the picture was captured.
According to the FBI “an engineer could determine significant design characteristics of a U.S. nuclear submarine” with the recovered photos.
Saucier is pleading “not guilty” and interviews with friends revealed that he told them he was “screwed” but that he never meant to share the images and never texted them to anyone, just simply showed them to buddies. Sailors who served with him remember him showing them the pictures but thought little of it.
While much of the possible espionage charge is still being investigated, it’s in doubt how much intelligence a soviet-era sub could give a country like China or Russia. Either way, sensitive technology was visible in all images.
Watch this report:
From the Navy Times:
On a March day in 2012, the supervisor at the town dump in Hampton, Connecticut, saw an LG cellphone resting atop a dumpster. Deciding he needed a new cell phone, he powered it on.
It was the beginning of an unlikely series of events that led to the Justice Department filing charges that could put Machinist Mate 1st Class Kristian Saucier behind bars for 20 years. Prosecutors say the 10-year Navy vet used his cell phone to snap pictures of the classified engineering spaces on the attack submarine Alexandria, raising questions about his intentions to share them.
It’s the latest case where sailors are accused of violating the submarine force’s ban on personal electronic devices; the ban was adopted to prevent sailors from photographing sensitive spaces. Late last year, 12 sailors were implicated in a ring that allegedly recorded female shipmates undressing with cellphones aboard the sub.
Was this sailor attempting to sell this information to our enemies or simply to show friends at home? Does it matter? Sound off in the comments below!