October 30, 2016
by Fr. George W. Rutler
October 30, 2016
by Fr. George W. Rutler
By JOSH GERSTEIN 08/16/16 11:42 AM EDT
Federal prosecutors are rejecting a Navy sailor’s effort to seek leniency by comparing his taking of classified photos on a nuclear submarine to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server authorities say contained highly-classified information.
In a court filing late Monday night, prosecutors asked a federal judge to send Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier to prison for more than five years for keeping six cell-phone pictures taken inside classified spaces of the U.S.S. Alexandria in 2009.
“The defendant is grasping at highly imaginative and speculative straws in trying to…draw a comparison to the matter of Sec. Hilary Clinton based upon virtually no understanding and knowledge of the facts involved, the information at issue, not to mention any issues if [sic] intent and knowledge,” prosecutors wrote.
Saucier’s defense attorney argued in a submission last week that it would be unfair to impose a prison sentence on his client when Clinton’s email account was found to contain eight chains with “Top Secret” information and 36 with “Secret” information. Prosecutors and the FBI closed that investigation last month without filing charges against Clinton or anyone else.
The contrast is fueling longstanding complaints that senior officials accused of mishandling classified information often get little or no punishment, while more junior-ranking offenders can be hit with severe consequences.
Saucier’s defense is urging U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill to give Saucier probation when he is sentenced on Friday in a Bridgeport, Conn. courtroom.
In addition to more celebrated cases, the defense notes that two of the sailor’s shipmates took similar photos in the same sub and received far more modest punishment, including a $560 docking of pay and—in one instance—a one-grade reduction in rank. One of those sailors is expected to be commissioned as an officer soon.
However, prosecutors say those episodes involved sailors who each took a single “selfie” in the engine room “while Saucier methodically documented the entire propulsion system of the nuclear submarine, including the design of its nuclear compartment and its nuclear reactor.”
“They are not the type of photographs that one would take to commemorate one’s service,” prosecutors said.
Prosecutors are vague about what Saucier’s purpose was in taking the photos, referring ominously in their filing to a trip Saucier took to Mexico and to an “African Dream” phone card found after apparently being hidden at his home.
The government has not explicitly alleged that any espionage was afoot, but says Saucier showed the photos to his ex-wife and woman he was later living with as well as two other sailors on the Alexandria. All said that Saucier “understood that he was not allowed to” take the photos.
After being confronted by investigators in 2012, Saucier compounded his problems by destroying a laptop, camera and memory card and throwing the laptop in the woods.
Clinton has said she believed her email account contained no classified information, although authorities later determined that it did. None of the messages were properly marked as classified, although three contained stray paragraph markings that signaled the presence of classified information. FBI Director James Comey has said, however, that someone in Clinton’s position should have realized that some of the subjects being discussed were not appropriate for an unclassified system.
The Navy, through Rear Admiral Charles Richard, Director of the Undersea Warfare Division for the Chief of Naval Operations, also submitted a “victim impact statement” Monday urging a tough sentence for Saucier.
“The information Mr. Saucier captured in his photographs is crucial information related to the design and operation of nuclear-powered submarines,” Richard wrote. “If this information were ever to be obtained by a foreign adversary, it would provide them with the opportunity to close the gap in capabilities, which would require an extraordinary effort and resources to restore it….Resources will now be needed to develop information and technologies to respond to information Mr. Saucier exposed.”
One challenge to winning a long sentence in the case is that the most sensitive photos Saucier took have been classified as “confidential,” which is the lowest tier of classified information, although they are also separately restricted as nuclear-related information.
While prosecutors say Saucier’s conduct risked “potentially grave damage” to national security and the Navy claims “a serious and lasting adverse impact” from the sailor’s actions, those kinds of phrases are more typically applied to information the government safeguards as “Secret,” corresponding to data whose disclosure is expected to cause “serious” damage to national security, or “Top Secret,” corresponding to “exceptionally grave” damage to national security.
It’s possible that logistical and practical reasons lead the Navy to deliberately treat some of the sub-related nuclear information at a lower classification level than it might otherwise qualify for. Designating it as “secret” or higher could impose tighter security clearance requirements and require greater vigilance against disclosure.
In March, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper urged agencies to consider the possibility of doing away with the “confidential” level of classification.
At three points, the government sentencing memo submitted Monday urges a 63-month sentence for Saucier. At one point, it proposes a sentence of 72 months—or six years —as appropriate “to serve both to deter future conduct and promote respect for the law.”
The Navy submission appears to advocate an even more severe sentence, urging that the judge sentence Saucier “at the high end of the applicable range under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines,” which prosecutors have agreed runs from 63 to 78 months.
The 29-year old sailor, who is awaiting an “other than honorable” discharge from the Navy, faces a maximum possible sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2016/08/kristian-saucier-sentencing-clinton-227052#ixzz4HWvDK8dt
Source: Feds reject Clinton comparison in classified sub photos case – POLITICO
By Drew Griffin, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz, CNN
Updated 4:23 PM ET, Thu August 11, 2016
CNN) – Officials from the FBI and Department of Justice met several months ago to discuss opening a public corruption case into the Clinton Foundation, according to a US official.
Jim Hoft Aug 9th, 2016 8:15 pm
On July 8, 2016, 27 year-old Democratic staffer Seth Conrad Rich was murdered in Washington DC. The killer or killers took nothing from their victim, leaving behind his wallet, watch and phone.
Shortly after the killing, Redditors and social media users were pursuing a “lead” saying that Rich was en route to the FBI the morning of his murder, apparently intending to speak to special agents about an “ongoing court case” possibly involving the Clinton family.
Seth Rich’s father Joel told reporters, “If it was a robbery — it failed because he still has his watch, he still has his money — he still has his credit cards, still had his phone so it was a wasted effort except we lost a life.”
Rachel Alexander |Posted: Aug 09, 2016 12:01 AM
Since the Democratic National Committee emails were leaked a few weeks ago, three people associated with the DNC have all been found dead under what could be questionable circumstances. Some — including Bernie Sanders supporters — suspect the Clintons were behind the deaths, just more episodes in the alleged “Clinton body count” dating back to the 1990s. Others dismiss the speculation as left-wing conspiracy nuts. But until the police have completed their investigations and the medical examiners have released autopsy reports, it is premature to make any determinations.
DNC staffer Seth Rich was mysteriously murdered in the streets of Washington, D.C., on July 10. Although it is being investigated as a robbery, his wallet, credit cards and watch were not taken. The 27-year old was shot in the back on July 10 at 4:15 a.m. near his affluent neighborhood, while he was reportedly walking home from his girlfriend’s apartment. Police still have no suspects, witnesses or motive. His mother told the local NBC station that there were bruises on his face, knees and hands, apparently from trying to fend off his attackers.
Some are speculating that Hillary Clinton is behind the murder, because Rich could have been the DNC staffer responsible for leaking the 20,000 damaging DNC emails to Wikileaks. The allegation is that powerful Sanders allies convinced Rich to leak the data. He had previously worked on the U.S. Senate campaign for Nebraska businessman Scott Kleeb, who lost his election. The Clinton Global Initiative provided funds for a clean energy business started by Kleeb, which had come under investigation after losing$300,000 in 2010 and another $300,000 in 2011 despite the subsidies. Rich was also previously employed at a data firm that had worked with the Clintons. After news of possible corruption emerged between the Clinton Global Initiative and Kleeb, supposedly that led to Sanders’ cronies pressuring Rich to leak what was going on.
Emily Zanotti of HeatStreet, who is no leftist, has written a skeptical article about the conspiracy theories surrounding his death, analyzing Reddit threads. Reddit has contributors covering the circumstances of his death extensively, but they aren’t professional journalists, are mostly anonymous and can get things wrong, which hurts the credibility of the speculation.
The myth-debunking site Snopes labeled the suspicion over Rich’s death as false. This is strange, since how does Snopes know that it is false? The police haven’t even completed their investigation yet, which Snopes admits. Many murders go unsolved, including several of the strange deaths of people associated with the Clintons. A $25,000 reward is being offered for information about who killed Rich.
There should be no rush to judgment either way. Two people were robbed at gunpoint within the hour before Rich was murdered, a little over a mile away. If Rich was really the victim of a robbery, why didn’t the robbers take his valuables? It is possible that Rich refused to turn his valuables over, so the robbers shot him, and then fled without the valuables due to the noise from the gunshot. Police investigators will likely speak with the victims of the earlier two robberies and ask if they can recall what the gun looked like to see if the ballistics match the two rounds that killed Rich.
Shawn Lucas, along with filmmaker Ricardo Villaba, served the DNC on July 3 with a complaint and summons in a fraud action on behalf of Sanders supporters. In the video, he can be seen grinning, happy to do it.
On August 2, he was found lying on the bathroom floor dead by his girlfriend when she came home that evening. His girlfriend said he was in good health.
The former President of the United Nations General Assembly, John Ashe, mysteriously passed away on June 22, a few days before he was scheduled to begin pretrial meetings involving shady financial dealings regarding a former Clinton crony. Local police officers said he died from dropping a barbell on his throat while working out, but the UN oddly first claimed he died of a heart attack. The 61-year-old was supposed to testify against Chinese real estate developer Ng Lap Seng, who was implicated in the “Chinagate” scandal for funneling money to the DNC for Bill Clinton through Arkansas restaurant owner Charlie Trie. Ashe was arrested last year for allegedly taking over $3 million in bribes from Chinese businessmen, including over half a million from Ng Lap Se, in exchange for building a United Nations conference center in Macau.
Dominican attorney Henry Shillingford questioned his death, “It is strange for Antigua’s most senior diplomat to be implicated and die under such troubling circumstances.” The New York Post’s Page Six ran a skeptical article questioning the circumstances. A source told the paper, “During the trial, the prosecutors would have linked Ashe to the Clinton bagman Ng. It would have been very embarrassing. His death was conveniently timed.”
However, his widow, Dr Anilla Cherian, said it was the third time that her husband had been found collapsed at their home.