Clarke, who announced earlier in the week that he had accepted an assistant secretary role at the Department of Homeland Security, earned a master’s degree in security studies from Naval Postgraduate School in California.
At the conclusion of his coursework, Clarke wrote a thesis titled, “Making U.S. security and privacy rights compatible.” CNN’s report showed that in the thesis, the controversial sheriff “failed to properly attribute his sources at least 47 times,” a direct violation of the school’s code of conduct.
In all of the instances that CNN’s “KFile” reported on in the thesis, Clarke used the text from the sources and credited them in the footnotes. But the text in the thesis doesn’t include quotation marks, failing to show that he took exact phrases from the sources.
On the portion of its website regarding academic integrity, the school’s guidelines state that, “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.”
CNN Investigative Reporter Andrew Kaczynski showed several instances that Clarke lifted from sources, only changing a word or two in some. Those sources included the 9/11 Commission Report, a report from the Pew Research Center, an article in 2012 by the Constitution Project and an article in a 2011 issue of the Homeland Security Affairs journal.
After the report was published, Lt. Cdr. Clint Phillips said in a statement to CNN that the school has launched an investigation into the matter.
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.
Read Clarke’s full thesis in the document below:
Once the blockbuster report was set to be published, Clarke declined comment. But he took to Twitter to try to put the subject to rest before it became a big issue.
The fact Clarke was attending school in California made headlines in 2013 when it was reported that he was doing so instead of working back in Milwaukee. A spokeswoman from his office said she didn’t “have any information” on the fact Clarke was studying at the school when prompted.
A report by WISN-TV in Milwaukee finally confirmed the information, saying that Clarke told a member of a TV crew in California that he was trying to get his master’s degree.
“I’m going to school, to the naval postgraduate school,” Clarke said to the crew member. “I’m here for the in-residence portion.”
Students at the school were required to be in residence in California for two weeks every quarter — 12 weeks over the year-and-a-half long program.
Clarke, who identifies as a Democrat, has been outspoken in his time as the sheriff of Milwaukee County.
One of his more controversial statements was on Twitter, when he announced that it’s “pitchforks and torches time” in reference to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump saying that the election system is “rigged against him.” It appeared that Clarke was trying to incite violence if Hillary Clinton were elected president.
In February, Clarke, who’s been a frequent guest on cable news networks (mainly Fox News), posted a photo of him flexing with a picture of Trump on top of a tank with American flags behind him. The caption of the tweet criticized former First Lady Michelle Obama, saying that she “said she was never proud of her country” until her husband was elected.
Clarke has been extremely outspoken in the Black Lives Matter movement in recent years, often referring to it as a hate group or a terrorist movement. He did so while writing a column for Fox News titled, “It’s time to stand up to Black Lives Matter.”
In other interviews, Clarke has referred to the movement as Black “Lies” Matter instead of “lives.”
“The whole thing is built on a lie, the whole premise is built on a lie,” he said in a Fox News interview. “But it’s a conglomeration of misfits. You have Occupy movement, you have organized labor in on it now, you have criminals, you have black racialists, you have cop haters and anarchists have now formed together this faux movement, if you will.”
In 2015, Clarke said in a tweet that he forecasted the Black Lives Matter movement “joining forces with ISIS.”