A former U.S. Navy sailor who received a one-year jail sentence for mishandling classified information after taking six photos inside a nuclear submarine said he now has hope for receiving a pardon after President Donald Trump mentioned him in a recent tweet – especially since he made an innocent mistake, whereas Hillary Clinton and others have mishandled top-level information and “flouted the law.”
In an interview with Fox News, former Navy sailor Kristian Saucier said that he is hopeful President Trump will pardon him following a tweet about Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides, after the U.S. State Department released classified emails found on the laptop of her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.
“Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on the submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, seemingly calling on the “Deep State” Justice Department to act.
“We’re hopeful with that tweet today,” Saucier said, referring to him and his family. “He [Trump] mentioned me quite a few times when he was campaigning, and said it was a double standard how Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin were handled. I mishandled low-level class information and they went after me with the full weight of the government. Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin flagrantly mishandled high-level information, making it available to a pedophile, and they get away with it.”
After serving a one-year jail sentence, Saucier now works at least 70 hours a week as a garbage collector in Vermont. Saucier said his house where he, his wife and his two-year old daughter live is in foreclosure and he is unable to pay his bills.
Due to an other-than-honorable discharge, Saucier doesn’t receive veterans benefits. His discharge came after he took six pictures of classified areas inside the USS Alexandria at the age of 22, in 2016. Saucier was released from prison this past September.
Saucier’s lawyers also applied for a pardon from the Trump Administration, but were told in a Justice Department letter that they would have to wait five years submit a petition for a pardon, Fox News reported.
One of Saucier’s attorneys, Ronald Daigle, said President Trump’s tweet has given them hope for a pardon.
“It seemed like we’d slipped off the radar,” Daigle told Fox News. “This tweet has renewed our hope that President Trump sees the injustice. He has identified the injustice several times.”
“I think my family and I have been punished enough,” Saucier told the Washington Examiner. “I made an innocent mistake as a kid, it wasn’t planned like Hillary Clinton and them blatantly flouting the law.”
“We’re struggling,” he said. “No one will hire me because I’m a felon… All the skills I worked so hard for in the military are useless.”
Saucier said Abedin should be prosecuted for the emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
“She should be put through the same legal system that went after me, and unfortunately I didn’t have near the legal resources that she does or Hillary Clinton does, so they’ll be able to mount a much better defense than I could, but even still, they should be charged the same as me,” he said.
During his presidential campaign, Trump slammed federal officials for going after Saucier but not punishing Hillary Clinton for her use of a private server to handle classified emails.
“I made an innocent mistake,” Saucier said. “Many people [who have served in the military] have said they also took pictures not for nefarious purposes. The pictures were on my own personal device, not for distribution, which so many people do. Because the FBI and Department of Justice wanted to get someone at that time, they went after me and destroyed my life.”
Saucier tried using Hillary Clinton’s use of classified information to his advantage by using it as an example after Clinton wasn’t punished.
Saucier’s lawyers said two other crew members who took pictures in the same spots that Saucier did were disciplined by the Navy and were not prosecuted.
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, Connecticut. 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.