John Walsh Caught Up In Plagiarism Scandal

Senator John Walsh plagiarized master's thesis

Montana Democrat John Walsh has apparently been busted for plagiarism.

The U.S. Senator and decorated Iraq War veteran (not to be confused with the dude from the America’s Most Wanted TV show) reportedly cribbed part of his master’s thesis while completing a degree in 2007 at a prestigious educational institution.

The former adjutant general of the Montana Army National Guard and ex-Lt. Governor of the state was appointed to the U.S. Senate when incumbent Max Baucus — famous for referring to Obamacare as a huge train wreck even though he helped pass it — resigned to become ambassador to China, while even admitting that he was no expert on China.

A New York Times investigation revealed Walsh’s apparent academic plagiarism:

An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution… Most strikingly, each of the six recommendations Mr. Walsh laid out at the conclusion of his 14-page paper, titled ‘The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy,’ is taken nearly word-for-word without attribution from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document on the same topic.”

Walsh is running in the November election for a full term, and Republicans were already favored in the matchup. This scandal increases their chances of winning the seat. His GOP opponent is Congressman Steve Daines.

The master’s thesis was supposed to be an additional resume enhancer for Walsh, according to The Daily Caller: “His War College degree was used to support his competency to serve as the head of the Montana National Guard, which in turn boosted his resume when he ran for office. The War College manual explicitly warns against plagiarism and demands its students to not engage in it.” The Times added that “one of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh’s 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained.”

Walsh insisted that “I didn’t do anything wrong here,” when confronted by the Times.

He subsequently told the AP that his treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder may have played a role: “I don’t want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor. My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment.” Walsh added that “I admit that I made a mistake. My record will be defined by [service in] the National Guard, not by a few citations that were unintentionally left out in a term paper.”

The Washington Free Beacon notes that “Walsh had hoped to turn his military career into an asset on the campaign trail, but that career has been plagued by scandal. In 2010, the Army’s inspector general officially reprimanded Walsh, then Montana’s lieutenant governor, for illicit advocacy activity using state resources on behalf of a private organization representing members of the state’s National Guard.”

What do you find more surprising — a U.S. Senator who obtained an academic degree under sketchy circumstances or the fact that the master’s thesis in question was apparently only 14 pages long? In the John Walsh plagiarism scandal, should PTSD be taken into consideration by Montana voters in the upcoming election?