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Strip Trump’s NSC Spox Of Her Thesis: Open Letter To Columbia University

Posted by Robbin Laird on


UPDATED: Crowley Will Stay In NYC, Per Request She Withdraw; Jan. 16

This is a little out of of our usual lane, but the controversy about Monica Crowley’s apparent plagiarism, both  in large sections of her Ph.D thesis and in a recent best-selling book of hers, raises troubling issues of truthfulness and personal integrity, values one hopes would be central to a spokeswoman for the President of the United States. President-elect Donald Trump has, as most of our readers know, declared Crowley will serve as his National Security Council spokeswoman.

Robbin Laird, international defense consultant and a member of the Breaking Defense Board of Contributors, was awarded a Ph.D by Columbia for his work on the former Soviet Union. In this open letter to the president of Columbia University, he calls for Crowley (a conservative commentator on Fox News and other media) to be stripped of her doctorate and for those who oversaw her thesis to be punished. Let it be said here that Laird is friendly to, if not very supportive of, the new Trump Administration. Read on. The Editor.

An Open Letter to the President of Columbia University: Plagiarism is an Academic Crime 

I remember the excitement with which I entered Columbia University and started my studies which led to a PhD in Political Science. I loved my time at Columbia where I met a number of interesting students, many foreign, and studied with several first rate scholars.  When it came time to write my dissertation, I chose a very un-dissertation like topic, namely shaping a way to understand historical change.  

To say the least it was original; probably too much so. Yet the work done on that effort has provided a solid framework for understanding strategic developments, no more so than now as we enter yet another period of profound global change.

But none of this would have been possible without doing original research and asking fundamental questions, a process supported by a premier global strategist, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, and a premier political theorist, Dr. Herbert Dean.

So it is with profound sadness that I learn that a nascent political appointee who is a graduate of Columbia University paved her way to success by publishing a dissertation, and then a book, with plagiarized materials.

“Trump Pick Monica Crowley Plagiarzied Parts Of Her Ph.D Dissertation,” Politico Magazine has found:

“An examination of the dissertation and the sources it cites identified more than a dozen sections of text that have been lifted, with little to no changes, from other scholarly works without proper attribution. In some instances, Crowley footnoted her source but did not identify with quotation marks the text she was copying directly. In other instances, she copied text or heavily paraphrased with no attribution at all.”

Harper Collins has pulled her book from the bookshelves, “until she makes revisions”. This is a nice way of saying that her book contains plagiarized materials.

Columbia University needs to take significant action. The university should rescind her Ph.D and administratively punish her dissertation advisor and her dissertation committee. Nothing less can restore the credibility of Columbia University. After all the university does not want to be perceived to have as much credibility as CNN.


Robbin Laird.

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