May 27, 2016: US Naval Machinist Kristian Saucier pleads guilty for taking photos inside the attack submarine he had been working on.

Kristian Saucier (Credit: public domain)

Kristian Saucier (Credit: public domain)

He was arrested in May 2015 on charges that he took some pictures that included classified engineering spaces in the backgrounds. It does not appear he attempted to share the photos with anyone, but he threw a cell phone into a dumpster that contained the phone, and someone else found it and reported it. He pled guilty to one felony count of unlawful retention of national defense information. This is part of the Espionage Act, even though he has never been accused of espionage. Sentencing guidelines suggest he could get five to six years in prison.

Politico reports that some are comparing Saucier’s case to Clinton’s email scandal, and suggesting that the less powerful like Saucier face stiffer punishments. The photos he took have been deemed “confidential,” the lowest classification ranking, while Clinton had some emails on her unapproved private server at the higher rankings of “secret” and “top secret.” Edward MacMahon, a Virginia defense attorney not involved in the Saucier case, says: “Felony charges appear to be reserved for people of the lowest ranks. Everyone else who does it either doesn’t get charged or gets charged with a misdemeanor.” (The Navy Times, 8/1/2015) (Politico, 5/27/2016)

August 19, 2016: A sailor is denied a ‘Clinton Deal’ and gets one year in prison for six photos of submarine.

Kristian Saucier (Credit: public domain)

Kristian Saucier (Credit: public domain)

On May 27, 2016, US Naval Machinist Kristian Saucier pled guilty for taking photos inside the attack submarine he had been working on. The case attracts attention due to its similarity to the Clinton email controversy.

According to US News and World Report, Saucier is sentenced on August 19, 2016 by a “federal judge rebuffing a request for probation in light of authorities deciding not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information on a private email server as secretary of state.”

Saucier’s attorney Derrick Hogan argued in a court filing that Clinton had been “engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier with information of much higher classification.” Hogan also stated, “It would 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.”

US District Judge Stefan R. Underhill (Credit: Hearst CT News)

US District Judge Stefan Underhill (Credit: Hearst CT News)

Saucier is sentenced by US District Judge Stefan Underhill to one year in prison and a $100 fine, along with six months home confinement, 100 hours of community service, and a ban on owning guns. Prosecutors had asked for six years in prison.

Greg Rinckey, another defense attorney for Saucier,   says he isn’t sure if the judge was affected by the media attention comparing Saucier’s case with Clinton’s email controversy. However, he states Underhill “cryptically made some comments about selective prosecution and how that didn’t play any factor. … Do I think it may have? Sure. But I think there was enough mitigation that the judge was able to depart from the sentencing guidelines [on that basis alone].” (US News & World Report, 08/19/16)