Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who announced last Thursday that President Trump has appointed him as Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, has been found by CNN to have plagiarized portions of his master’s thesis on U.S. security.
Clarke has been a controversial advocate for Trump since he began his campaign, speaking on his behalf at rallies, and making incendiary comments that are as bad or worse than anything Trump himself has said. He has referred to Black Lives Matter as “Black Lies Matter,” has said he’d like to grab Democrats by the throat, and has had his sheriff’s department investigated after an inmate in their custody died of dehydration after being denied water for a week.
Clarke received a master’s degree in security studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, but, according to CNN, he “failed to properly attribute his sources at least 47 times” for his thesis “Making U.S. security and privacy rights compatible.”
“In all instances reviewed by CNN’s KFile, Clarke lifts language from sources and credits them with a footnote, but does not indicate with quotation marks that he is taking the words verbatim.”
The Naval Postgraduate School has strict rules for quoting sources and an honor code that defines plagiarism quite clearly. CNN’s analysis shows not only that Clarke definitely violated those guidelines, but demonstrates in great detail where the plagiarism took place.
Critics have attacked the appointment of Clarke to a role in the Department of Homeland Security’s office of partnership and programs, wondering how someone who wants to “strangle” Democrats will be able to work in partnership with them. While Clarke himself has announced that he will be joining the department, a spokesperson for the department has maintained that no announcement has been made yet.
Clarke responded to the plagiarism accusations on Twitter, taking a page from the Trump playbook by attacking the media, calling the CNN reporter a “hack” with a modus operandi of engaging in opposition research.
Meanwhile, a Naval Postgraduate School spokesperson told CNN that it is standard procedure to launch an investigation when accusations of plagiarism are made.
“Like all academic institutions, the Naval Postgraduate School takes the integrity of our students’ work very seriously, perhaps even more than our peers given the unique nature of our mission and student body,” Lt. Cdr. Clint Phillips said. “Standard procedure to any formal accusation of plagiarism is to pull the student’s thesis, and perform an investigation into the validity of the claims.”
This investigation could very well signal that the Department of Homeland Security won’t be making any announcements regarding Sheriff Clarke anytime soon.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.