A former U.S. Navy sailor who was sentenced to prison for taking cellphone photos inside a submarine – an offense seen as “nothing” compared to the scandal of Hillary Clinton sending classified material over an unsecure email network, has been pardoned.
President Trump issued the pardon Friday for Kristian Saucier, the Washington Examiner reported.
Saucier was driving a garbage truck at the time he learned of the pardon, the “only job he could find with a felony conviction,” the report said.
Trump had cited Saucier’s predicament several times while he was running for president, saying the sailor was “ruined” for doing “nothing” compared to what Hillary Clinton did.
Saucier was released from his one-year term in September and was living in Vermont with his family, wife Sadie and a 2-year-old daughter.
He was 22 when he took the photos in 2009. He pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized possession and retention of national defense information. His lawyers argued to the court he should get the same “deal” that Hillary Clinton got for being “extremely careless” with national security secrets.
The images he had were “confidential,” which is the lowest level of classification.
His wife told the Examiner: “When Kris gets home from work, when he gets to the door, I’m going to be a little emotional. I can’t believe it happened, I don’t think it’s set in yet.”
In an interview when he got out of prison, Saucier expressed frustration at the two standards of justice, one for Hillary Clinton and one for common people.
“I was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for what’s called unlawful retention of national defense information. Basically, I possessed classified documents or images on an unsecured device, so exactly what Hillary Clinton did, but she didn’t get prosecuted because they said she didn’t have intent to cause national harm,” said Saucier.
“That’s not a prerequisite for the charge. So I was prosecuted with no intent to cause national harm. It was very clear to them that I had no intent. I was just taking these pictures as mementos, and it didn’t matter. They still prosecuted me, and I was facing possibly 10 years in prison,” said Saucier.
He says the takeaway for him and his family is obvious. The powerful are held to a different standard.
“They protect their own, so higher ups in our government are protecting each other. It’s the same with Gen. (David) Petraeus, who lied to the FBI and tried to spread disinformation. He was head of the CIA,” said Saucier.
“They’re protecting him. They’re protecting Hillary Clinton, and they’re protecting all the people that are in their little clique right there. Whenever it comes to an honest American citizen, they just go right after you,” he said.
“If they can do this to somebody like me, who is a patriotic, honest American citizen who wanted nothing but to serve his country, and then looked the other way when people like Huma Abedin, John Podesta and Hillary Clinton break the same exact law to a far more egregious standpoint and nothing happens to them, it’s very upsetting,” he said.
During his campaign, Trump suggested prosecuting Hillary Clinton but later dropped the topic.