by WorldTribune Staff, August 17, 2016
The U.S. Department of Justice set a “new standard” when it let Hillary Clinton off the hook for alleged criminal conduct while it continued to pursue a case against WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, said.
Meanwhile, the attempt by a U.S. Navy sailor to use the “Hillary Clinton defense” is being dismissed by federal prosecutors. Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier is facing prison time for taking photos of a classified area on a U.S. nuclear attack submarine
Assange said, “our D.C. lawyers are delivering a letter tomorrow to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to explain why it is that the now six-year-long national security and criminal investigation being run against WikiLeaks, the reason I have political asylum, has not been closed.”
He was speaking on CNN’s “The Lead” on Aug. 15.
The DOJ’s “actions seem to be setting a new standard by closing the Hillary Clinton case,” Assange added. “The Hillary Clinton case has only gone for one year.
“Hillary Clinton’s case has been dropped, the case against WikiLeaks continues. So why is it that the, quote, ‘pending law enforcement proceedings’ against WikiLeaks continue? There’s a problem here.”
Petty Officer First Class Saucier, a 29-year-old mechanic, admitted he used his personal cellphone on three occasions in 2009 to take six pictures of the submarine’s classified propulsion system while working in the engine room, according to court documents.
Prosecutors rejected the sailor’s comparison of his case to Clinton’s and asked the judge presiding over the case in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut to sentence Saucier to five years.
The sailor’s lawyers had asked prosecutors to reconsider Saucier’s punishment in light of the FBI investigation that found highly classified information on Clinton’s private email server.
“I don’t think that we’re grasping at straws,” said Greg Rinckey, one of the defense attorneys representing Saucier. “I think the cases are similar. It’s now been shown that Secretary Clinton sent and received emails that were marked classified at the time contrary to her sworn testimony.”
In a court filing, Saucier’s lawyer compares the half-dozen classified photos Saucier had in his possession to the 110 classified emails the FBI determined were on Hillary Clinton’s personal server.
Saucier “possessed six (6) photographs classified as ‘confidential/restricted,’ far less than Clinton’s 110 emails,” Derrick Hogan wrote to court.
Hogan said it would be “unjust and unfair” for Saucier – who has pleaded guilty – to do prison time “for a crime those more powerful than him will likely avoid.”
Assange said the Justice Department’s investigation of Clinton “was closed under the basis that [FBI Director] James Comey said that they couldn’t establish that there was an intent to damage national security. In our case, there’s no allegation that we have done anything except publish information for the public.
“The U.S. government had to say under oath in 2013 not a single person has been physically harmed by our publication. You don’t have intent. You don’t have serious harm.”
Assange added Clinton’s campaign is trying to discredit WikiLeaks by focusing on his lack of American citizenship.
“Of course they’re desperate for anything,” he said. “We operate and report on all different countries. We have staff in the United States. That’s what we do for every country.
“Once again, they’re trying to distract from the revelations that caused four, the top four officials, including [former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman] Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to resign.”
Saucier, who served on the USS Alexandria submarine from September 2007 until March 2012, had a secret security clearance and admitted knowing he was not authorized to take the photos, which depicted classified material.
Saucier’s lawyers claim his reason for taking the photos was benign.
“Mr. Saucier admitted that he knew when he took the pictures in 2009 that they were classified and that he did so out of the misguided desire to keep these pictures in order to one day show his family and his future children what he did while he was in the Navy,” Hogan wrote in a court filing.