Sheriff David Clarke Accused Of Plagiarizing Master’s Thesis

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, the firebrand Fox News commentator reportedly tapped for a senior post at the Department of Homeland Security, may have plagiarized almost 50 sections of his master’s thesis, a new analysis shows.

CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski reports the sheriff failed to provide proper attribution of sources at least 47 times in the thesis he completed for his master’s degree in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in California.

Though Clarke credits his sources with a footnote in each instance Kaczynski flagged, the sheriff appears to lift language from the relevant sources verbatim and does not set it off with quotation marks. Like many other institutions of higher education, the Naval Postgraduate School considers this practice a form of plagiarism because it creates the impression that language used in the source is actually the author’s.

CNN includes a portion of the school’s academic integrity guidelines in their report. It reads:

If a passage is quoted verbatim, it must be set off with quotation marks (or, if it is a longer passage, presented as indented text), and followed by a properly formulated citation. The length of the phrase does not matter. If someone else’s words are sufficiently significant to be worth quoting, then accurate quotation followed by a correct citation is essential, even if only a few words are involved.

A school spokesman told CNN it would conduct a plagiarism investigation, and it has removed Clarke’s thesis from the school’s archive.

Clarke dismissed the CNN report and asserted that Kaczynski’s previous plagiarism findings, which implicated Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul and former Trump aide Monica Crowley, were frivolous.

The tenor of Clarke’s tweet is somewhat strange as Paul apologized for careless citation practices and Crowley withdrew her name from consideration for a position on the National Security Council after Kacsynski’s reporting.

Clarke told Wisconsin radio host Vicki McKenna that he would be joining the Trump administration as an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security during an interview Wednesday. A Department spokeswoman subsequently implied that his appointment had not yet been finalized.

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