Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier of the United States Navy faces up to five years in prison for taking photographs inside a nuclear submarine in 2009.
According to Politico, Saucier is being charged with “retaining national defense information without permission.”
This charge pertains to section 793(e) of the U.S. penal code, part of the Espionage Act, which states, in part:
“Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph…relating to the national defense… willfully retains the same [information] and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it… Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”
Saucier pled guilty.
However, his attorney, Derrick Hogan, claims that Saucier only wanted to take pictures so that he could someday show his children what he did in the Navy.
Hogan is now employing a novel defense in order to reduce his client’s sentence.
Politico quotes Hogan:
“Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hilary [sic] Clinton…has come under scrutiny for engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier…
In our case, Mr. Saucier possessed six (6) photographs classified as ‘confidential/restricted,’ far less than Clinton’s 110 emails. 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.”
There’s one critical difference between Saucier’s case and Hillary Clinton’s:
- Saucier knew that he took unauthorized photographs. Clinton maintains she had no idea that her emails contained classified material.
However, as FBI Director James Comey noted during a press conference, Clinton had approximately 110 emails on her server that were classified at the time she sent or received them. Some of those messages included “top secret” information.
Comey said that “any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position … should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.”
To charge Clinton, there would need to be evidence of “gross negligence,” according to section 793(f). But, according to Comey, Clinton was only “extremely careless” with the way she handled her emails.
Hogan makes the case that Clinton received special treatment because of her position, and that his client should be treated the same because of the precedent which Clinton set.
This notion is backed up by what Director Comey said to the press:
“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
CNN reports that the prosecution dismissed the comparison out of hand:
“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 cite “intent” in their dismissal, even though, according to sections 793(e) and (f), intent is not a factor.
Kristian Saucier will be sentenced Friday.
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Should Kristian Saucier receive leniency?
Source: independent journal
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