Being young and naive is not illegal. Taking pictures in classified parts of submarines is illegal. The combination of the two is what landed former U.S. Navy sailor Kristian Saucier in prison for a year. On Friday, President Donald Trump made the prison sentence and the spot on Saucier’s record go away. In issuing his second presidential pardon, the charge of taking pictures of classified equipment has been expunged.
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.”
Saucier 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 had said previously that he had only wanted service mementos. But 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. Saucier claimed his prosecution was driven by sensitivity about classified information amid the scandal involving Clinton’s emails.
It wasn’t putting top secret American programs on a private server completely open for all the world’s hackers to exploit, but under the previous administration that would not have mattered.
Saucier’s case was one that President Trump talked about extensively during the campaign, recognizing that the punishment certainly didn’t fit the crime. Federal prosecutors seemed to want to make an example of Saucier, and went out of their way to be sure that his transgressions would not be forgotten anytime soon. It was a matter of injustice if there ever was one.
Yet another betrayal righted by President Trump.
Congratulations to Kristian Saucier, a man who has served proudly in the Navy, on your newly found Freedom. Now you can go out and have the life you deserve!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 10, 2018