Sailor Invokes the Hillary Defense

Naval officer uses Clinton precedent over mishandling of classified material, still faces years in prison

Hillary Clinton’s extremely reckless handling of classified information while secretary of state is causing more headaches for the United States justice system. Not only did Clinton lie about the contents of the emails and endanger national security, but the decision by FBI Director James Comey to not prosecute her sets a dangerous precedent that is now being used to make arguments about sentencing other individuals accused of similar crimes.

In a plea filed last Friday that came to light Monday, Petty Officer 1st Class Kristian Saucier cited Clinton’s corrupt handling of confidential emails to argue he shouldn’t be given jail time. Earlier in the spring of 2016, Saucier pleaded guilty to taking six photographs of classified submarine equipment aboard the U.S.S. Alexandria in 2009. He maintained the photographs were to show his children his work environment when they were old enough to appreciate it.

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Through his attorney, Saucier pleaded guilty to a charge under Title 18 of the US Coder 793(e) for having unauthorized possession of classified information. In Clinton’s case she was authorized to have the classified material — unlike Mr. Saucier — but through her recklessness permitted “the material to be removed from its proper place of custody.”

His pleading reads “Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hilary [sic] Clinton … has come under scrutiny for engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier.” He noted that FBI Director James Comey said 110 emails in 52 email chains in Clinton’s account contained information deemed classified at the time, including eight chains with “top secret” information and 36 with “secret” information.

“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.”

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The attorney for Saucier cites two other similar cases where two Navy sailors received more lenient sentences. One was docked $560 in pay and the other received a rank reduction.

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Because the FBI refused to prosecute Clinton for violating a similar statue, the lawyers for Saucier are arguing he should be given a much less lenient sentence than the 63-72 months recommended by the sentencing guidelines.

Whether or not Saucier gets a reduced sentence will be up to the judge, but it is truly remarkable that the evidence suggests that Hillary Clinton committed a crime of a similar nature and was not even prosecuted. The fact that one of our service members can potentially be put away for years for a similar crime is deeply disturbing.

If the United States wants to continue to be a nation governed by laws and not men, it needs to consider fairly prosecuting everyone who violates the law, not just the rank and file of our Armed Forces. Instead of living in a country where privileged political actors get out of jail free because of their last name, our country should be a place where the eyes of Justice are blind to social and political connections.

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