HELENA — This week Democratic U.S. Sen. John Walsh dominated campaign news with revelations that his thesis written to earn a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College in 2007 contains unattributed passages taken word-for-word from previously published papers. His challenger for the seat, Republican Rep. Steve Daines, so far has remained silent, seemingly content to let the controversy unfold. Daines spokeswoman Alee Lockman said Friday they are still monitoring the news and have nothing to add at this time.
NO APOLOGIES FROM WALSH:
Walsh has called his extensive use of others' work without attribution in his research project for the U.S. Army War College a "mistake," but an apology doesn't appear to be forthcoming. On Wednesday, Walsh told The Associated Press he would "consider" apologizing to the scholars who wrote the recommendations he presented as his own and other passages he lifted verbatim for the paper about promoting democracy in the Middle East. But by Thursday, his campaign made clear he's not ready to say he's sorry. Asked if the Montana Democrat had decided whether to apologize, campaign spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua said in a statement: "Senator Walsh has said to all publicly that this is an unintentional mistake. It was not done purposefully or with the intent of misrepresenting others' work as his own."
WALSH GETS TO MAKE HIS CASE IN WAR COLLEGE INVESTIGATION:
The U.S. Army War College said Walsh will have the chance to appear and submit documentation to a panel of faculty that will investigate the plagiarism allegations. The Carlisle, Pennsylvania, college said in a statement Thursday it will convene an academic review board and could recommend revoking Walsh's master's degree if the findings are substantiated. The college's deputy commandant makes the final decision. The college said it has revoked the graduate status of six students for plagiarism since 1990, and two others for other misconduct. Those dishonored students' names were removed from a plaque of graduates' names hanging in front of the college.
HOW DOES THE COLLEGE DEFINE PLAGIARISM?
The war college's handbook, called the "Communicative Arts Directive," devotes two pages to warning students against plagiarism. It defines plagiarism as "taking another's words or ideas and passing them off as one's own." Plagiarism includes paraphrasing an author's work without credit, directly quoting an author's work without credit and copying a segment of an another's work then "conveniently 'forgetting" to include quotation marks. It also references the "accidental plagiarist," calling that person a "sloppy, careless writer at worst or a hapless dabbler relatively unskilled in the finer points of misrepresentation at best." The handbook concludes: "The bottom line: don't plagiarize. America needs strategic leaders to help guide her, not to undercut American values with plagiarism and deceit."
WALSH RECEIVED SATISFACTORY MARKS FOR RESEARCH ABILITY:
Walsh's academic evaluation report issued just before he received his Master of Strategic Studies degree on June 9, 2007, said his research ability was "satisfactory" and noted the curriculum included "completion of an in-depth research project on a topic of strategic interest and value to senior military leaders." Walsh was evaluated as "superior" in oral communication and contribution to group work. He was deemed "satisfactory" in leadership skills and written communication. Walsh released the evaluation report along with hundreds of pages of his other military records in January.