President Trump has pardoned former U.S. Navy sailor Kristian Saucier, who served a year in jail for a felony conviction after taking six photos of classified areas inside the USS Alexandria (SSN-757) nuclear attack submarine, including the vessel’s nuclear reactor.
Saucier’s case was often invoked by President Trump on the campaign trail, who said the sailor’s life was “ruined” for doing “nothing” compared to Hillary Clinton, while Saucier’s attorneys used the Hillary Clinton “lack of intent” defense – requesting little to no punishment, to no avail.
As we reported back in August 2016, Saucier’s legal team claimed that “most recently, Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hilary [sic] Clinton … has come under scrutiny for engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier.” The FBI has criticized Clinton’s “homebrew” setup, attorney Derrick Hogan noted, “however, the FBI recently recommended Mrs. Clinton not be brought up on any charges as she lacked ‘intent.’”
Therefore, Hogan claimed, the jury must acquit.
Saucier, who acknowledged that he was aware that the pictures he took were classified (Clinton, recall, has maintained that she did not believe any of the information she receive via email ought to have been protected) argued that the photos were keepsakes, pointing to photos taken by two co-workers inside the sub who were not prosecuted.
“That’s an old submarine; they’ve got plenty of pictures, if the enemy wants them, they’ve got plenty of them. He wanted to take a couple of pictures. They put him in jail for a year,” said Trump said at one event on the campaign trail.
The photos Saucier took were deemed “confidential” – the lowest level of classification, while Hillary Clinton was storing “Special Access Program” (SAP) documents on her unsecured private server. Of note, SAP documents are classified above top secret, which are subject to exceptionally stringent safeguards – including non-electronic copies which require physical access some cases.
Intelligence is allocated to a special-access program when “the vulnerability of, or threat to, specific information is exceptional,” according to Executive Order 13526, which was signed by US President Barack Obama in late 2009 and details how to properly handle and protect classified national-security information. –Business Insider
“To date, I have received two sworn declarations from one [intelligence community] element. These declarations cover several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the confidential, secret, and top secret/sap levels,” wrote Intelligence Community Inspector Gen. I. Charles McCullough III in a January 2016 letter.
(b) Every person who has met the standards for access to classified information in paragraph (a) of this section shall receive contemporaneous training on the proper safeguarding of classified information and on the criminal, civil, and administrative sanctions that may be imposed on an individual who fails to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure. –EO 13526, Sec 4.1
Saucier, now 31, took cellphone photos in 2009 when he was 22-years-old.
Since his release, Saucier told the Washington Examiner he’s had trouble finding work – taking a job as a garbage man in Vermont where he worked up to 70 hours a week to support his wife and two-year-old daughter. His cars were repossessed while he was in prison, debt collectors have been hounding his family, and they had to go on a payment program to handle the electricity bill.
“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.”
Because he was given an “other-than-honorable” discharge from the Navy, Saucier will receive no veteran benefits – including disability payments for injuries received while serving two tours in the Middle East.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, was allowed to run for president, lost, and has been protected by the specter of a Russian witch hunt ever since, courtesy of America’s “Deep State”.
“I think my family and I have been punished enough,” Saucier told the Examiner in January.
In January, President Trump tweeted “Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail!”
“Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others.”
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton was exonerated by the FBI, after the agency’s top brass including former Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe conspired with top counterintelligence special agent Peter Strzok and others to “decriminalize” Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified material – by changing their assessment from the legally consequential charge of “grossly negligent,” to the phrase “extremely careless.”
Notably, “Gross negligence” is a legal term of art in criminal law often associated with recklessness. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, it is defined as “A severe degree of negligence taken as reckless disregard,” and “Blatant indifference to one’s legal duty, other’s safety, or their rights.” “Extremely careless,” on the other hand, is not a legal term of art.
18 U.S. Code § 793 “Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information” specifically uses the phrase “gross negligence.” Had Comey used the phrase, he would have essentially declared that Hillary had broken the law.
Moreover, we learned this week that Peter Strzok ignored evidence that Clinton’s server – with SAP level classified documents on it – was breached. Strzok still collects a taxpayer funded paycheck after being stuffed in the FBI’s HR department.
Finally, Hillary Clinton just received the Radcliffe Medal and is tweeting about #MeToo from her multi-million dollar compound. Kristian Saucier’s life is in shambles as he tries to provide for his wife and two-year-old. With any luck, today’s presidential pardon will help strengthen his resume.