Navy Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier, who was convicted on a felony charge for taking photos of classified systems inside a submarine, has cited Hillary Clinton’s free pass for violating similar security protocols in his defense.
Saucier pled guilty in May to charges of taking photos inside the submarine USS Alexandria in 2009, which captured classified elements of the sub’s propulsion system. In his guilty plea, he admitted that he should have known better, thanks to his training, and he should not have destroyed potential evidence from his camera and computer — but the same could be said of Hillary Clinton, who thought little of violating security protocols she was trained on when she became Secretary of State and infamously deleted tens of thousands of emails from her illicit mail server.
Politico reports that Saucier’s defense attorney Derrick Hogan cited the Clinton precedent when asking for probation, instead of the 63 to 78 months in prison his client could be sentenced to on Friday.
In his court filing, Hogan also touches on the special new “intent” standard invented for Clinton, to spare her from indictment on dereliction charges.
“Mr. Saucier admitted that he knew when he took the pictures in 2009 that they were classified, and that he did so out of the misguided desire to keep these pictures, in order to one day show his family and his future children what he did when he was in the Navy,” Hogan wrote. “He neither passed the photos or disclosed their contents to any unauthorized recipient, nor ever attempted to do so.”
Hogan noted his client was only 22 years old at the time of his infractions and has both an exemplary service record and clean legal record, so “there is absolutely nothing in Kristian Saucier’s background that justifies, much less requires, a sentence of incarceration.”
The filing also notes that Saucier’s security clearance has been revoked, and he will “never have access to a submarine” again — which is far more than can be said of Hillary Clinton.
After citing two other Navy personnel who took photos in the same parts of the Alexandria as Saucier — sub selfies were evidently all the rage in 2009 — but received only mild non-judicial punishment, and other cases where “the Court felt a downward departure of the Sentencing Guidelines was appropriate in scenarios much more extreme than the acts of Kristian Saucier,” Hogan plays the Clinton card:
Most recently, Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (hereinafter “Clinton”) has come under scrutiny for engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier.
FBI Director James Comey (hereinafter “Comey”) stated that there were “110 emails and 52 email chains” that were deemed classified on Hillary Clinton’s personal servers collected in 2014.
Of those emails, 8 of these chains contained “top secret” information, 36 contained “secret” information, and 8 contained “confidential” information. Additionally, 2000 emails were later deemed confidential.
Comey stated that “none of these emails should be on personal servers,” however, the FBI recently recommended Ms. Clinton not be brought up on any charges as she lacked “intent.”
In our case, Mr. Saucier possessed six (6) photographs classified as “confidential/restricted,” far less than Clinton’s 110 emails. Furthermore, Mr. Saucier pled to 18 U.S.C. 793(e), which does not require intent. It only required that he had “unauthorized possession” of the photographs.
Wherefore, it will be unjust and unfair for Mr. Saucier to receive any sentence other than probation, for a crime those more powerful than him will likely avoid.
Obviously, Mr. Saucier’s wife will not be having any secret runway meetings with the Attorney General, but most of the other “differences” Politico cites between Clinton and him are more like similarities, or factors that make Clinton’s conduct much worse. She is older, more experienced, supposedly one of the most intelligent women in the world, her server scheme involved numerous other people, and she put a far greater volume of sensitive material at much greater risk.
As for the “intent” defense, since everything she has stated about her intentions is demonstrably false, it seems unfair to give her more credit than a young sailor who got in trouble for goofing around in the wrong part of a submarine.
Politico quotes some letters from other Navy personnel written on Saucier’s behalf, which spoke of a poor command climate, excessive pressure against junior sailors, and “lax policies in that era towards electronics on subs.” The latter sounds exactly like the Clinton excuse that email is a baffling new technology the U.S. government still does not really understand.
An argument could be made for the importance of sending a clear message to other military personnel by sternly punishing Saucier’s infraction — but why shouldn’t we be worried about the precedent Clinton set for ignoring classification protocols?
FBI Director Comey seemed aware of that danger when he explained why Clinton would not be recommended for indictment: “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.”
In other words, lesser people, such as young Navy sailors, can expect very different treatment than what political royalty enjoys.