A US Navy sailor was sentenced to a year in prison after he took photographs of alleged classified areas inside a nuclear attack submarine while it was in port in Connecticut.
Kristian Saucier pleaded guilty last May in making the “foolish mistake” of unauthorized detention of military information, according to the Guardian newspaper.
He was facing five to six years in prison under federal sentencing rules and regulations, but on Friday, when the verdict was announced, he got away with only one year in prison for taking six pictures of classified areas inside the USS Alexandria in 2009 when he was a 22-year-old machinist mate on the submarine.
A judge also ordered Saucier to serve six months of home confinement with electronic surveillance during a three-year period of supervised release after the prison term. Saucier did not speak during the court proceeding on Friday.
Prosecutors said his photographs described the nuclear reactor compartment, the auxiliary steam propulsion panel and the maneuvering compartment.
His lawyers said Saucier knew about the classified areas of the submarine but took pictures to be able to show his family and future children what he did while he was in the Navy.
“It was a foolish mistake by a very young man,” his lawyer, Greg Rinckey, said after the sentencing. “It’s a very sad case because Kristian Saucier is a fine young man. We don’t believe this was really his true character.”
Rinckey said the Navy is expected to discharge him next month with “other than honorable” treatment.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service could not determine if the photos had been distributed to unauthorized people because Saucier destroyed important evidence after an interview with the FBI in 2012.