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CNN accuses Sheriff Clarke of plagiarizing master's thesis — then 'America's Sheriff' hits back

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke responds to accusations of plagiarism. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who recently said he accepted a position in President Donald Trump's administration, allegedly plagiarized parts of his master's thesis while at the Naval Postgraduate School in California.

According to CNN's KFile, which first reported the news late Saturday, there are at least 47 instances in Clarke's thesis on U.S. security where he failed to properly attribute a source that he directly quoted. The thesis, "Making U.S. security and privacy rights compatible," was written for Clarke's security studies master's degree.

In all 47 instances identified by CNN's KFile, Clarke directly "lifts language from sources and credits them with a footnote, but does not indicate with quotation marks that he is taking the words verbatim," according to CNN, which violates the plagiarism standards at the Naval Postgraduate School.

According to the school's standards, if a student directly quotes a passage or source, they must indicate the source's words with quotation marks — which Clarke failed to do — or with an indented paragraph if the quote is long.

Sources that CNN allege Clarke plagiarized include: the 9/11 Commission Report, a myriad of studies from the American Civil Liberties Union, reports from various think tanks and even former President George W. Bush's post-White House memoir "Decision Points."

In response to CNN's report, the Naval Postgraduate School said they are opening an investigation into Clark's thesis. They also removed the thesis from their website in accordance with standard procedure when accusations of plagiarism arise.

A spokesman for the school, Lt. Cdr. Clint Phillips, told CNN:

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. 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.

The university's academic conduct code, and our procedures in checking for plagiarism at the time of thesis submission, and following graduation, can change from year to year. In this particular case, we would be unable to determine any violation until the full investigation is complete.

In response to the allegations, Clarke, who is known in conservative circles as "America's Sheriff" due to his near constant presence on Fox News and other conservative outlets, tweeted about CNN's reporting.

In fact, he directed his comments toward KFILE editor, Andrew Kaczynski, while stating that plagiarism accusations are Kaczynski's "MO" given his history of breaking news of plagiarism by other conservative stars like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Monica Crowley.

"This @CNN hack @KFILE oppo research MO is to accuse plagiarism. I'm next. Did it to Rand Paul, Monica Crowley et al," Clarke tweeted.

Clarke added in a separate tweet that Kaczynski is a "sleaze bag."

"Ample evidence of my previous tweet on @CNN political hack @KFILE. Guy is a sleaze bag. I'm on to him folks," Clarke said.

To be fair, all previous plagiarism reporting by Kaczynski has held up to the weight of the claims, and even forced Crowley to bow out of a position in the Trump administration earlier this year.

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