Last Friday, a federal judge sentenced a Navy Sailor to one year in prison and six months of electric monitoring during home confinement during a three year period of supervised release.
Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier was sentenced when appearing in federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was sentenced for taking photos of classified areas inside a nuclear attack submarine despite making claims that it was similar to how Hillary Clinton used a private server to send classified emails.
The two cases are showing a double standard between how high ranking officials, such as Hillary Clinton, are getting special treatment compared low ranking government officials. In early July, FBI Director James Comey recommended no charges be brought up against Hillary Clinton despite being “extremely careless” with her private email server.
Last Monday, the Federal Government dismissed a sailors defense that his case was similar to Hillary Clinton’s private email server case, according to court filings.
Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier admitted to taking photos of the classified engine room in the nuclear submarine in which he worked, the USS Alexandria in 2009 while working as its machinist’s mate at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton. 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 an FBI complaint.
The photos Saucier took 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 entered his guilty plea for one count of unauthorized possession and retention of national security information in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Con, in May, 2016.
Saucier’s lawyer, Derrick Hogan of Tully Rinckey PLLC, compared the photos that Saucier had in his possession to Hillary Clinton’s possession of 110 classified emails in her private server.
“Mr. Saucier possessed six (6) photographs classified as ‘confidential/restricted,’ far less than Clinton’s 110 emails,” Hogan wrote in the court papers.
Saucier denied any intention to distribute the photos to anyone except to show his future family what he was doing in the Navy, according to the court filing.
Hogan, who was seeking probation, said Saucier shouldn’t go to prison “for a crime those more powerful than him will likely avoid.”
According to Federal guidelines, Saucier was facing up to more than six years in prison.
“The defendant is grasping at highly imaginative and speculative straws in trying to further draw a comparison to the matter of Sec. Hilary (sic) Clinton based upon virtually no understanding and knowledge of the facts involved, the information at issue, not to mention any issues of intent and knowledge,” the prosecutors said in court papers.
US District Judge Stefan Underhill compared Sauciers offense to that of a motorist expecting not to get pulled over for speeding on a highway full of careless drivers.
“Selective enforcement is really not a good argument … those arguments don’t really carry much water,” said Underhill, CNN reported.
“We need to make sure that every service person understands the consequences of playing fast and loose with important information,” Underhill added.
Defense attorney Greg Rinckey told U.S. News & World Report that he thinks the Clinton defense played a role in limiting Saucier’s prison sentence to only one year as opposed to six.
“He cryptically made some comments about selective prosecution and how that didn’t play any factor. Do I think it may have? Sure. But I think there was enough mitigation that the judge was able to depart from the sentencing guidelines [on that basis alone],” Rinckey said.
Underhill sentenced Saucier to a year in prison, six months of home confinement and 100 hours of community service.