President Pardons Former Sailor at Center of Campaign Controversy

On Friday, March 9th President Trump issued a pardon for a former sailor who unexpectedly found himself at the center of the last Presidential election. Why? Because that sailor had been sentenced to 1 year in prison after pleading guilty to 1 count of unlawful retention of defense information- an offense his attorney claimed was the same thing then Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was accused of doing without any punishment.

(Credit: Justice Department Court Filing)

In 2012 PO Kristian Saucier became the subject of an NCIS and FBI investigation after a picture of various control panels, the reactor compartment and various interior portions of a naval submarine were discovered on a cellular phone he owned. The investigation determined the photos were taken in 2009 aboard the U.S.S. Alexandria, a Los Angeles Class nuclear-powered attack submarine docked at Naval Submarine Base New London CT. In May 2015 he was arrested and charged with unlawful retention of national defense information and obstruction of justice – the second charge due to claims he destroyed the camera and computer once he became aware of the pending investigation.

One year following his arrest Saucier pled guilty to a single count of unlawful retention of national defense information, with his attorney arguing for probation based in part on the recently reported mishandling of classified material by Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately for Saucier the judge presiding over the case did not by the defense’s argument and instead sentenced him to 1 year in federal prison and another than honorable discharge. But someone else was listening- then Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who repeatedly questioned the handling of the case and used it to show Clinton was receiving special treatment.

Make no mistake; I do not condone then PO1 Saucier’s actions. Although there was no evidence he took the pictures for treasonous reasons he was aware of the regulations prohibiting even the possession of electronic recording devices in secure spaces. Furthermore, his attempts to destroy evidence support the idea that he knew what he had done was wrong. His military career was doomed from the minute he hit the shutter button. However, I also have no doubt he was treated differently by a Department of Justice that was more than willing to overlook for more egregious behavior by a much higher ranking official. Justice is supposed to be both blind and fair, but it is hard to see how either was the case when a 22-year old machinist’s mate is held to a higher standard than a former Secretary of State & United States Senator.

The combination of a felony conviction and other than honorable discharge would continue to haunt Saucier after his 2017 release from prison. He found it difficult to find employment, was unable to collect any veteran’s benefits and would forever be precluded from owning firearm, voting or enjoying many of the other rights other citizens enjoy. But now at least some of that is behind him, and he can begin to rebuild his life.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
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