Outrage is the only way to explain how a Navy Sailor, faced with few options, was essentially forced to plead guilty last month for mishandling a few classified photos yet former Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton’s private email scandal which saw thousands of classified sensitive emails, some top-secret and secret exposed to for years with multiple hackers claiming they stole information due to Clinton’s carelessness, gets off completely free and clear of any charges.
The two cases are showing a double standard between how high ranking officials, such as Hillary Clinton, are being better treated than low ranking government officials.
Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier allegedly took photos of the classified engine room in the nuclear submarine in which he worked, the USS Alexandria. Saucier took several photos of the reactor compartment. He then, upon learning he was in trouble destroyed a laptop, a memory card and a camera to ensure no one saw the photos, after taking part in an interview with the FBI, according to a complaint by the FBI.
One witness claims that when Saucier found out he was being investigated by the FBI, a shipmate asked him if he had pictures of a reactor on his phone. “Yeah he did,” Saucier told the witness, “and now I’m in trouble. It was for myself, it’s not like I texted them to somebody.” Saucier denied any intention to distribute the photos to anyone.
The submarine was a Cold-War Era submarine and it is unclear how much valuable information the submarine would provide to foreign adversaries – despite no one seeing the photos except for Saucier and he saying it was for his own interest.
Saucier entered his guilty plea for one count of unauthorized possession and retention of national security information in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Conn. He also was indicted on one count of obstruction of justice. He admitted that he took pictures of the restricted areas of engine room inside the USS Alexandria while working as its machinist’s mate at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton.
The photos were classified as “confidential,” which is the lowest rank of protection for classified information and could cause some damage to national security, but not “serious” or “grave” damage.
Saucier could face up to six years in prison for his plea deal according to Federal guidelines and 30 years if found guilty on both charges. The defense says it will seek a lighter sentence.
Sauciers case is drawing similar comparisons to that of senior officials who have mishandled information, such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Friends of Saucier and conservative commentators are saying that what Clinton did was much worse.
“I just don’t think it’s fair,” Gene Pitcher, a retired Navy sailor who served with Saucier aboard the Alexandria told Politico. “In reality, what she did is so much worse than what Kris did. … I think it’s just a blatant double standard.”
The State Department inspector general said last month that Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server was in violation of their agencies policies.
FBI Director James Comey released a statement today suggesting that no charges be brought up on Hillary Clinton for the misuse of her private email.
The FBI found that there were 110 emails in 52 email chains that were determined to be classified at the time. Eight of the chains were determined to be top secret at the time they were sent and received.