January 12, 2017
A former Navy sailor who mishandled classified information, then compared his case to Hillary Clinton’s in a failed bid to avoid prison time, has now asked President-elect Donald Trump to pardon him.
Former Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Kristian Saucier admitted to taking six photos of classified areas inside the USS Alexandria, a nuclear attack submarine, while it was in port in Connecticut in 2009. He snapped the photos knowing they were classified, but did so only to be able to show his family and future children what he did while he was in the Navy, his lawyers said.
Saucier asked for probation. In court filings, he compared his case to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when the former Democrat presidential nominee was secretary of state. The FBI declined to charge Clinton for her handling of classified information while using the server.
However, a judge in Connecticut sentenced Saucier last August to one year behind bars, and ordered him to serve six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring during a three-year period of supervised release after the prison time. The Navy also handed him an “other than honorable” discharge.
Saucier, of Arlington, Vt., filed a petition Monday for a presidential pardon, the Navy Times reported.
The former sailor doubted President Obama would give him a pardon but hoped Trump would consider it, attorney Jeffrey Addicott said. “This is a matter of justice and justice isn’t just about whether you are guilty or not — he’s admitted that. It’s about the punishment as well.”
“If not for the high level of the Clinton misconduct and the lengthy presidential campaign process, there can be no doubt that my far less egregious acts of taking six photos of my work station would have otherwise been received with a significantly lower form of punishment,” part of Saucier’s petition read. It was not clear when Trump or Obama might consider making a decision.
Saucier’s photos showed the submarine’s nuclear reactor compartment, the auxiliary steam propulsion panel and the maneuvering compartment, prosecutors said. They added that the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service were never able to determine whether the photos had been distributed to unauthorized people because Saucier destroyed key evidence including his laptop computer, a camera and a memory card after an interview with the FBI in 2012.
The investigation began in 2012 when a waste station supervisor in Hampton, Conn., found Saucier’s cellphone with the submarine photos on top of a pile of demolition trash and showed it to his friend, who was a retired Navy chief and brought the phone to the NCIS, according to court documents.
Saucier’s lawyers also said two other Alexandria crew members were caught taking photos in the same locations as Saucier, but were not prosecuted — only disciplined by the Navy.
“There’s no evidence he transmitted the photos and he’s sitting in federal prison and has lost all his benefits — his family has lost all their benefits. The judge told him it was for having classified information on an insecure device. How does that compare with Hillary Clinton, who used an insecure device to transmit classified information and there are no criminal charges?” Saucier’s mother, Kathleen, told the Navy Times.