While it is understandable that authorities would want to prevent military personnel from committing similar offenses in the future, their refusal to consider similar charges against Hillary Clinton, who jeopardized the security of information far more sensitive than anything Saucier handled, shows how the law comes down hard on ordinary people and lets members of its privileged class of the hook:
“The photos were deemed ‘confidential,’ the lowest level for classification.
By contrast, an FBI investigation found Clinton’s private email server contained at least 110 emails with classified information. The probe found eight email chains with ‘top secret’ information, 36 with ‘secret’ information and eight with confidential information.
Clinton was not charged with a crime, but FBI Director James Comey said last month her conduct was ‘extremely careless.’ Comey also said three emails on Clinton’s private server contained markings indicating they contained “confidential” information.
One key difference between the cases: Saucier, 22 years old when he snapped the photos, admitted he knew he was not supposed to have taken them. Clinton, meanwhile, has insisted she did not knowingly send or receive classified information.
Comey said no prosecutor would bring a case without a knowing violation of the statute Saucier admitted violating, which includes provisions requiring either ‘gross negligence’ or ‘intent … that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States.’
Although Clinton’s emails were removed from her private servers, authorities have not alleged that was part of any cover-up, as was alleged against Saucier, who in pleading guilty avoided an obstruction of justice charge while admitting he had destroyed a laptop, a camera and a memory card after he was first interviewed by authorities in 2012.
Saucier’s downfall began when a local dumpyard manager found the sailor’s old cellphone and told a friend about the submarine photos, leading to an investigation by the the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
In arguing for a harsh punishment, prosecutors said defendants in similar cases had fully cooperated with authorities. Rear Adm. Charles Richard asked the court in a July letter to give a stiff penalty, partially as a deterrent to others.
But Saucier’s former shipmates have described the prosecution as disproportionate when compared against penalties for others who took photos with their phones on the submarine.”
Source: US News