War College to convene review of John Walsh plagiarism allegations

Allegations that Montana Sen. John Walsh plagiarized his final master's degree assignment will be investigated by a college review board.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  July 25, 2014 at 12:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army War College says it will conduct an academic review following revelations one of its graduates, Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., plagiarized most of his final paper for his master's degree.

The Carlisle, Pa., college said it has "reasonable cause" to convene a review of Walsh's academic work after its initial analysis. If Walsh is found to have violated academic standards, his degree may be revoked.

"We hold our students responsible and we trust them to uphold high standards of academic integrity unless there is reason to believe otherwise," Army War College spokeswoman Carol Kerr said. "In 2007, no questions were raised about the paper in discussion."

Allegations about Walsh's work for his 2007 degree surfaced this week in a New York Times report reviewing his final paper, a 14-page document titled "The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy."

The investigation found that Walsh copied -- nearly word-for-word -- significant portions of documents from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the National Endowment for the Humanities, a 1998 Harvard paper, a 2003 Foreign Affairs article, the State Department website, a 2005 War College paper, and the Journal of Democracy, which were improperly attributed or unattributed altogether.

Walsh has been notified and will have 10 days to decide whether to appear in person or provide information to the review board, which will convene no sooner than August 15. Then, the board will deliberate for up to 10 days and determine if Walsh is guilty of plagiarism and intentionally seeking to pass off others' work as his own.

A spokeswoman for Walsh said he will cooperate with the investigation, but has already attempted to excuse any wrongdoing by blaming post-traumatic stress disorder and surviving "hundreds of both IED and rocket attacks throughout the deployment."

The scandal comes at a moment that is already difficult for the Montana Democrat, who was tapped to replace Sen. Max Baucus when he was appointed to become the ambassador to China. Walsh has been struggling in his bid for his first full term, often trailing Republican Rep. Steve Daines in polls by double-digits.

The senator, now 53, attended the War College and earned his master's at the age of 46. Walsh appears to have benefited directly from this paper, and his degree, earning praise and a promotion to adjutant general of Montana's National Guard from the governor in 2008. He is a decorated Iraq veteran and served more than three decades in the National Guard.

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