President Trump Pardons Former Sailor Who Raised “Clinton Defense”

President Trump had raised the case during the campaign to contrast with the treatment given to Hillary Clinton. 
I agreed with the criticism of the case.  Saucier was just 22 years old when he took the cellphone pictures in 2009. The area of the submarine was classified only as “confidential” but prosecutors still hammering the kid as if he were a major KGB agent.  
Saucier was left to work at a garbage collector to support his family.  While he was in prison, they lost their cars and their home.  
I have previously written about the Animal Farm culture of Washington and the special treatment given to the powerful and well-connected (here and here). This is one such example.
What is troubling is that there is no indication of a review of the decision to prosecute this young man or the prosecutors who made those decisions.  He should have been disciplined, stripped of his clearance, or even mustered out. However, the prosecutors showed no discretion, let alone empathy, in this prosecution.

51 thoughts on “President Trump Pardons Former Sailor Who Raised “Clinton Defense””

  1. The only problem I see with taking these pictures (which may or may not have been brought up in the proceedings against Saucier) is that cell phone pictures are geo-tagged and time-stamped. If the picture was sent to someone, these pieces of information would have been transmitted with the picture, which would have revealed the location of the sub and the time the picture was taken.

    I also agree with the pardon, based upon the Clinton defense. If he was guilty of any crime, then she should have been prosecuted with equal vigor. And she wasn’t.

  2. I’m glad the sailor was pardoned but this will do nothing to solve the problem of the two tiered justice system that exists not just in DC and government but in all legal affairs in this country now. If you are wealthy, well known and connected you will receive far more favorable treatment than those who have none of those attributes.

  3. Admittedly, I am only vaguely familiar with this story; however, I would assume–yes, assume–that those who garner work assignments, via the military–especially on NUCLEAR subs–are told, in no uncertain terms, repeatedly, no pictures. . .no photos. . .of any kind. . .whatsoever. Again, that is what I assume. I assume that it is drummed into the heads of these young kids, stationed in and around this highly sensitive equipment. Drummed into their thick skulls, in no uncertain terms. It’s not as if he could’ve missed the warnings if he managed to daydream during one of these lectures. I’m quite sure that it is a constant theme and point of concern
    Now, if that is, in fact, the case, how can one be so positive that there was never any intention, whatsoever, of compromising national security by taking these pictures on his cellphone? Makes no sense. How could this have been a simple, innocent goof up? A goof up–a blunder–could be forgetting to close a door. . .forgetting to sign a paper. . .but, the affirmative act, of taking a photo, on a cell phone, when one has been hit over the head, repeatedly, not to do so given the gravity of the offense, doesn’t sound so innocent to me. It just doesn’t. Sorry. I know that the young man claims that he had no ill intent, and, that may, in fact, be the case; however, his actions are troublesome, to say the least. I feel sorry for this young man, but I am not so sure that JT’s declaration, that this soldier’s treatment was, ridiculous, is a fair statement. I guess that I would like to know WHY, after, what I can only assume were intense and repeated lectures on the prohibition against taking photos, in or around the ship, this soldier still decided to do so? Unless we answer that, the claim of his treatment, being ridiculous, is unsupported.

    1. I, on the other hand, with some familiarity with matters of government secrets, strongly suspect that this sailor was told, once upon a time, that pictures of the inside of a submarine were “classified” information.

      In a lecture which went into many other details. This particular one was likely promptly forgotten as it was never reinforced.

      That said, it was the responsibility of the submarine security officer to see to it that the security briefings were regularly repeated. My guess is that such did not occur. Do you have any idea how busy the officers and crew on a submarine are?

      1. I doubt that he was told, in passing, briefly, once upon a time, not to take photos. Stop making up stuff.

    2. however, his actions are troublesome, to say the least. I feel sorry for this young man, but I am not so sure that JT’s declaration, that this soldier’s treatment was, ridiculous, is a fair statement.

      First of all, he was a sailor, not a soldier. Secondly, it would not be unusual for tour groups, dependents and other groups like the media to be brought on board naval vessels. Our job was to sanitize the spaces these people would have “controlled” access to. Secure all classified material and turn off all electronic gear.

      What Saucier did was NJP worthy but hardly rose to a court-martial offense. His punishment was more outrageous given the known facts regarding Clinton. If punishments were awarded based on the actual threat to national security, compared to Saucier, Clinton should have been whipped, then seen a firing squad, then hanged, and finally had her body unceremoniously dumped at sea like Bin Laden.

      1. Again, without the benefit of knowing the actual details of this particular case, involving this particular SAILOR, you, along with others, are quick to condemn the manner in which it was handled by the military. How can you possibly judge, with the scraps of info available, that his actions didn’t rise to the level of a court-martial? Yes, undoubtedly, there are injustices in this world. . .was pursuing this young man, and the punishment which followed, one of them? Who knows? I don’t. The story sounds incredibly strange to me. I can only assume that SAILORS are warned, repeatedly, to refrain from taking photos while on-board these nuclear subs. I assume that to be a given. That this young man, along with others on these subs, are sufficiently warned about the severity of taking photos and the penalties which could ensue for doing so. I’m also assuming that it is drummed, into the heads of these SAILORS, that photos are not permitted. Period. If that is, in fact, the case, why was he taking photos? A momentary lapse in judgment or something more nefarious? Unless and until you are privy to the nitty gritty details, involving this young man and his specific actions, slamming the manner in which he was punished is irresponsible. Mentioning Hillary Clinton, by the way, doesn’t lend any credibility to your beliefs, either. Yes, Hillary should be in a dank cell somewhere, wearing an ill-fitting orange jumpsuit. And? There are many people, who, for any myriad of reasons, escape true justice, but that doesn’t support the notion of turning a blind eye to flagrant violations committed when SAILORS are in uniform, aboard nuclear subs and snapping photos–an activity which this SAILOR was, surely, warned to avoid, countless times.

        1. bam bam – he was asking for the Hillary exception to the rule, which was fair under the circumstances. Hillary had 18 classified documents on a laptop mixed with photos of Huma’s husband’s private parts that he was texting to between 20 and 100 women. That puts that material at greater risk than photos that never left the sub and were background for a selfie.

        2. Unless and until you are privy to the nitty gritty details, involving this young man and his specific actions, slamming the manner in which he was punished is irresponsible.

          I’ve seen enough of the nitty gritty details in similar cases while in the Navy to know what has been disclosed would be an NJP matter at worst. There may be undisclosed details that justified a court-martial. However, until that becomes public, I would find NJP to be warranted.

          1. OLLY – I was 2-Y. They would only draft me after every healthy male in America was in the service. What is NJP?

            1. Non-judicial punishment. Captain’s mast. Typical penalties would be a reduction in rate, loss of pay for a couple months, 45 days restriction and extra duty.

  4. Saucier’s sob story was on Fox so it’s not surprising to see it dittoed here. If the 22- year- old had been one of the demographic “others”, the chant would be “lock him up”.
    Of course, Russia would like for U.S. military, civilian government employees and government contractors who take photos of defense weapons illegally or, who release classified info. illegally, to get a slap on the wrist. It would make future spy recruitment much easier.

  5. Good for Trump. I just hope this poor guy can rebuild his life.

    Now, can HRC be indicted now that more info has emerged? If this guy was imprisoned for a year for doing much less maybe she can be locked up

  6. The appropriate response from the Navy would have been to transfer him to a non-security level position for the remainder of his term and then re-evaluate. Obama should have pardoned him on his way out. Trump did the right thing and you bet we will hear about it ad infinitum, along with all of his other victories.

    The rest of the Clinton stuff is just horse apples. When you isolate the sailor incident it is simple and straightforward; the US government fu*^ed up a man’s life. When you bring Clinton into it, then leave the door open for Trump, Bush, etc. Pick a side and let the sh*t fly.

  7. Kristian Saucier’s fate reminds me of what happened to Nakoula Basseley Nakoula after Benghazi. They both became beards to deflect the heat away from someone in the Obama Administration who screwed up with a Jedi Mind trick. Look over there…. not right here.

  8. I was Military for 4 years. It is my experience that all discipline begins with the local commander. In the army this is the company commander usually a captain. in this mans case would it have not been the commander of the ship? It does not really matter Who pressed charges. That person had wide discretion on how to resolve this matter. This did not have to be a court marshal. That person is the problem Not the Prosecutor.

  9. IT’S ABOUT TIME!!! Trump talked about this while campaigning. NOW, lets hope the American people will stand up and demand the memers of our Military who have wrongly convicted of un-premeditated murder while in the heat of battle on foreign land will also be pardoned. Educate yourselves on the Leavenworth 10 and you’ll find Military Men from several branches who have been imprisoned for terms from 20 years to Life for doing what WE trained them to do. On such is a Navy Seal who was found innocent of charges from several years ago, until the NY Times decided to publish an article and the Navy opened up a new case on him and he’s been sentenced and serving time in Ft. Leavenworth. Stand up America and fight for these INNOCENT men. Several others were protecting their troops or simply following orders and they are also in prison. Clint Lorance, Calvin Gibbs, and others are in that predicament. Col. Allen West is a huge supporter and has been working to help them gain their freedom as have I. They need our support and our help.

    1. You are confusing the two–in one instance, soldiers did precisely as they were instructed, in battle and we’re imprisoned. . . .and, in the other instance–this one–a soldier did precisely the opposite from what he was instructed and commanded. Namely, he was warned, I believe, to NOT take photos on the nuclear sub. To NOT take pictures. He did so, anyway, for God only knows what reason. Don’t group him with soldiers who were carrying out official orders. The two are not alike.

  10. This should of never been let out by the Navy ! Sure he was wrong but he needed a good kick overboard-provided he could swim or be rescued /alive, that is . And it reminded me of child who took a candy treat and wasn’t supposed to .

    1. B. Helinski,
      Not a candy treat, “but the strawberries, that’s…that’s were I had them”.😉

        1. Paul C. Schulte,..
          At 102 ( almost 103), Herman Wouk is still with us.
          He published a book in the last year or so, although he thought it might be the last one that he wrote.
          Bogart and some of the other actors were superb in the movie.

          1. Tom Nash – Bogart and his “steelies” were incredible in that movie. Fred MacMurray was a sleazeball. 😉 It was a great cast.

  11. That particular law has no element of intent. Intent does not matter one whit one way or the other. What’s immoral is that Clinton is using that excuse to evade justice when she not only demonstrated intent over a period of time but same thing that law has no element of intent – only the action. The main difference at present is Cllnton had not been formally convicted, sentenced and had to serve time before getting as pardon and her transgressions of the laws were far more serious than that of Saucier. What possessed Comey to bring that up especially as it is a false and meaningless defense is beyond understanding as is the delay in filing formal charges…..

    1. Why are you just making up facts about the intent element? Just to try and trick people on the internet? That’s sad.

      I don’t think your point about Mr. Saucier and Secretary Clinton is necessarily wrong either, but just stop lying to make it!

      Here is the law at issue. You’ll see it actually has two intent requirements (knowingly, and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location).

      18 U.S.C. 1924
      “(a) Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.”

  12. Thank God. What the powers-to-be did to this decent man and his family was nothing short of outrageous. Mr. Trump came through for the little guy once again. Sadly, however, the principle of equal justice under the law is still very much under siege.

  13. President Trump did the right thing here. If there was no ‘intent’ for Hillary, there was no ‘intent’ for him. As for Snowden, he is now is China being tracked by the NSA. His gf is with him. Snowden was a traitor if you follow his timeline. Even his documentary shows him to be a traitor. You don’t pardon traitors.

    1. What crime has Assange been convicted of here in the US to warrant a pardon?

      1. Carterbo – Assange has been charged with crimes, he, like Nixon, could be pardoned in advance.

      2. T rump could pardon him for rape since that is the only crime he has been accused of but that was in Sweden right. T rump has accused Snowden of being a traitor and would rather hang than pardon him that is unless Putin gets a deal.

  14. JT, you wrongly assume that prosecutors are interested in justice rather than obtaining the most serious conviction that they can.

    In American society this sailor is a low level and contemptible worm with the least ability to defend himself, why not depict him as being as evil as one can depict him even if this involves some dishonesty.

    If the world were honest every court in the US would have a frieze running all the way around just below the roof with the words “JUSTICE IS INJUSTICE – INJUSTICE IS JUSTICE” repeated.

  15. The prosecutors ought to have to pay recompense out of their own pockets.

    1. Just making stuff up, again.

      You don’t know enough about this case, and, its particular facts, to come up with such an assinine comment like that. You have no idea as to whether or not this soldier was treated unfairly by the prosecutors. You are clueless, as usual. Just making stuff up.

      Sound familiar, Benny Boy?

      1. The punishment was disproportionate to the minor crime. Do you understand just how low level “classified” is? I doubt that you do, ye of little intellect.

        1. You have no clue, as to what this soldier was, or was not, instructed to refrain from doing with regard to taking photos. No clue. Whatsoever. If he was told and instructed, repeatedly, along with his fellow soldiers, to refrain from taking any photos in or around this nuclear sub, then that is relevant information and cannot be dismissed as relevant to his case, including the manner in which he was punished. His actions would, therefore, not be an innocent flub.

          As suspected, you are too much of a dimwit to ever have been in the military, so you wouldn’t comprehend the necessity of following the military’s rules.

          1. He was a sailor, not a soldier. And regarding my military background you are just Making Stuff Up again.

      2. In general I agree with David Benson. When Any of us is taken to court by the government for any reason. We are the only ones with any thing to loose. Prosecutors, police and judges have no skin in the game. If they don’t WIN their case they Should pay all the defendants include Lost wages from their OFFICE budget. In this sailors case that does not apply,. He was clearly guilty.

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks