Kristian Saucier, 31, a Navy sailor who has served a year in federal prison for taking pictures aboard the nuclear submarine he was stationed on, has been pardoned by President Trump. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that the President was ‘appreciative’ of his service to the nation.
Saucier is deeply grateful to President Trump for the pardon that cleared his name. “He’s an amazing man, and this is just one of the many great things that he’s done in his term,” Saucier said in an interview on Fox & Friends. Saucier was imprisoned for using his cell phone to photograph parts of the USS Alexandria’s nuclear propulsion system, but he has repeatedly said he meant no harm. “All I ever wanted to do was serve my country,” Saucier said. “I honestly believe that the systems that went after me were put in place to protect people like me until I was run through the ringer.”
“Thank you, sir for your bravery and for standing up in the face of so many people who said you would never do the right thing,” he stated. “You proved them wrong time and time again and thank you for having the moral fortitude to follow through on your promises.”
Saucier’s prison term is complete, but the presidential pardon clears his name and criminal record. This will aid him in getting work etc. and benefits. Once Saucier got the news that he had been pardoned, he asked for permission to remove his ankle bracelet. “We got permission to cut my ankle bracelet off and so now I am no longer on house arrest which is pretty amazing,” he said. He was disappointed how his case was originally handled. “It’s unfortunate that one prosecutor and a couple FBI agents really just destroyed my life for no reason,” he said. Saucier violated Naval rules of national security by taking pictures of his station inside a nuclear submarine and sending them to his wife via text.
Saucier admits he made a mistake, but thought the incident should’ve been handled within the military because he was still on active duty. That is typically how these matters are addressed. Once Saucier got out of prison, he said the only company that would hire him was a local waste company as a garbage man. The pardon has expunged the charge from his record and will no longer be held against him.
“He has been recognized by his fellow service members for his dedication skill and patriotic spirit,” Sanders said during a press briefing. Saucier’s case has been referenced by President Trump frequently while criticizing Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server. In a January tweet, he referred to the ‘Deep State Justice Dept’ and criticized the federal system for going after a sailor instead of a top Clinton aide.
This is President Trump’s second pardon as President. The first was Joe Arpaio, a former six-term sheriff of metro Phoenix. Saucier’s attorney, Ronald Daigle Jr., said his client was ecstatic. “He’s so grateful that the President saw there was an injustice in this matter and he took action on it.” He pleaded guilty in 2016 to unauthorized detention of defense information for taking photos inside the USS Alexandria while it was stationed in Groton, Connecticut, in 2009. Saucier claims he only wanted service mementos and to show off for his wife.
Federal prosecutors argued he was a disgruntled sailor who had put national security at risk by taking photos showing the submarine’s propulsion system and reactor compartment and then obstructed justice by destroying a laptop and camera. Which he did do. Saucier claimed his prosecution was driven by sensitivity about classified information amid the scandal involving Clinton’s emails. He served a year for his transgression. Saucier was charged in 2016 for the incident and was tried in a federal court instead of a military tribunal.
Saucier, of Arlington, Vermont, was a 22 year-old machinist mate on the nuclear-powered attack submarine when he took the photos. His lawyers said he knew the photos would be classified, but he wanted to show his family what he did in the Navy. He denied sharing the photos with any unauthorized recipient.
President Trump repeatedly referred to the former sailor during the 2016 campaign, drawing attention to the handling of his case and describing it as overzealous and politically motivated. That it was used to deflect from Hillary Clinton’s scandals. After Trump won the election, Saucier’s attorney discussed the case at Trump Tower with Michael Flynn, the President’s former national security adviser, who encouraged a formal pardon request. Trump was later asked about the case during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity and said it was “very unfair.”
Saucier harshly criticized Barack Obama and his political motivations over his case. “It was a clear attempt by the Department of Justice under President Obama to use me as a scapegoat to take the heat off of Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information,” he added.
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