This past week, the controversial Sheriff David Clarke preempted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by himself announcing that he has been appointed as assistant secretary in the DHS. Almost immediately thereafter, CNN reported that his Naval Postgraduate School thesis, “Making US security and privacy right compatible,” was rife with plagiarism.
His thesis, as reported, “failed to properly attribute his sources at least 47 times.”
Following the news report, Clarke took to Twitter to respond to the CNN reporter who broke the story, Andrew Kaczynski.
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) May 20, 2017
Clarke then e-mailed the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and claimed that the report was part of a smear campaign against him. “Only someone with a political agenda,” he explained, “would say this is plagiarism.” Clarke’s spokeswoman then claimed that CNN is biased. She did not reference the blatant examples of plagiarism in and of themselves when decrying the political bias of the news network.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) May 20, 2017
The Naval Postgraduate School has already taken Clarke’s thesis down from its website as it conducts an investigation into the validity of the claims.
— Adam Steinbaugh (@adamsteinbaugh) May 20, 2017
Clarke, however, is not the first Trump appointee to be charged with plagiarism. Monica Crowley, tapped for a communications post in the national security council, plagiarized her PhD thesis and a book. Neil Gorsuch, Betsy DeVos, and even Melania Trump have also been plagued by accusations of plagiarism.
Despite Trump’s own claim that he would hire the “best people” in his administration, the fact that so many of his appointees – including the Secretary of Education herself – is an embarrassment to our country and an insult to those whose hard work was stolen without credit. In a way, it is almost fitting that Trump – who has taken credit for many of Barack Obama’s successes since becoming President – would surround himself with people who have skirted by on the backs of others.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.