Further Evidence Of Monica Crowley’s Plagiarism

Based on a CNN analysis, it appears the plagiarism in Monica Crowley’s dissertation was even more extensive than previously reported:

Conservative commentator Monica Crowley, who is slated to serve in a top national security communications role in Donald Trump’s presidential administration, plagiarized thousands of words of her 2000 dissertation for her Columbia University Ph.D., a CNN KFile review has found.

On Monday, Politico reported that it found more than a dozen examples of plagiarism in Crowley’s Ph.D. dissertation. CNN’s KFile has found nearly 40 lengthy instances of Crowley lifting paragraphs from numerous sources, including several scholarly texts, the Associated Press, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The revelation comes on the heels of another CNN KFile investigation, which found more than 50 instances of plagiarism in Crowley’s 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” On Tuesday, the book’s publisher, HarperCollins, announced that it would stop selling the book until “the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material.”

Crowley’s first plagiarism scandal came in 1999, the year before she submitted her dissertation. After The New York Times reported a reader found that a column she wrote in the Wall Street Journal strongly resembled a 1988 article in the neoconservative magazine Commentary, a Journal editor said that the paper would not have published her piece if it had known of the parallels. Crowley denied the charge but acknowledged that the language is similar.

Neither Crowley, nor the Trump transition team, responded to requests for comment.

Columbia also declined to comment in a statement, saying that all reviews of University research were kept confidential.

“We have no comment on Monica Crowley’s dissertation, which was submitted in 2000 and is publicly available,” the statement said. “The University’s process for addressing concerns raised about University research preserves the confidentiality of any review, and even the fact of a review’s existence is confidential while it is underway. Columbia is committed to upholding the very highest standards of integrity and credibility in academic research.”

Trump has tapped Crowley, a syndicated radio host, columnist, author, and longtime Fox News contributor to be his senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council.

The Trump transition team’s statement announcing Crowley’s selection hailed her reputation as a scholar.

It said, “Dr. Crowley, a renowned scholar who holds a Ph.D. in international relations from Columbia University, is a foreign affairs and political analyst for the Fox News Channel. She is also a New York Times bestselling author and a columnist and online opinion editor of The Washington Times.”

In her dissertation on America’s China policy under Truman and Nixon, entitled “Clearer Than Truth,” Crowley, whose Ph.D. is in international relations, lifted multiple passages from Eric Larson’s 1996 book, “Casualties and Consensus: The Historical Role of Casualties in Domestic Support for U.S. Military Operations.” She also repeatedly plagiarized James Chace’s 1998 book, “Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World,” as well as a 1982 book by Yale’s John Lewis Gaddis called “Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy during the Cold War.” Crowley’s dissertation also contains passages taken from a 1996 book by Thomas Christensen of Princeton, Useful Adversaries: Grand Strategy, Domestic Mobilization, and Sino-American Conflict, 1947-1958.

Crowley cited these and other sources in footnotes at various points in her dissertation, but often failed to include citations or to properly cite sources in sections where she copied their wording verbatim or closely paraphrased it.

There’s been little to no coverage of this story in the major media, largely due to the fact that most of the attention has been paid to the confirmation hearings for the President-Elect’s Secretary of State, Attorney General, Secretary of Defense, and other nominees that have been taking place on Capitol Hill this week. Additionally, Crowley’s position is not a major one. Had she been appointed to a more senior position, this likely would be a story. As it stands, the Trump team seems unlikely to cut her loose at this point so it’s likely she will take her position at the White House with very little public controversy.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. SenyorDave says:

    I heard her once on the radio going on about how Obama is intentionally trying to hurt the US. She has a perfect background for the Trump team, a bloviating jackass with a phony academic record. She’s a true academic scholar in the same way that Trump is a successful businessman.

  2. CSK says:

    It might be easier just to count up the works she hasn’t pillaged.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    Whee. Just look at how much she lifted!

    I really, really hope that Columbia yanks her doctorate. This is egregious.

  4. Gustopher says:

    What is the correct title for someone who has had their doctorate stripped from them?
    – Former-Dr. Monica Crowley?
    – Monica Crowley, Ex-PhD?
    – Monica Crowley, Plagiarist, Humiliated and Disgraced?

  5. CSK says:


    Why not Trump’s favorite designation: Loser!

  6. Franklin says:

    @Gustopher: LOL, this should be fun.

    – Monica “Uh Oh, My Doctorate Has Been Doctored” Crowley
    – Monica “But I Did Stay At A Holiday Inn” Crowley

  7. Jen says:

    @Franklin: The “But I did stay at a Holiday Inn” needs to be turned into a meme. Preferably with a “will need to see the receipts, ma’am” as a coordinating picture.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    Wow, seeing the extent of it on the page does not help Crowley. She didn’t even try to disguise her theft, the few small changes I saw on a quick glance-through aren’t the kinds of things she’d have done to disguise her plagiarism, they’re the kinds of stuff copy editors come back with. I mean, this isn’t even a close call.

  9. CSK says:

    Ten to one the research was done by her assistants. Crowley didn’t check to see if what they gave her was quoted material, or didn’t care, assuming no one would check, and reproduced it as if it were her own. Basically she plagiarized her hired plagiarists.

  10. DrDaveT says:


    Ten to one the research was done by her assistants.

    For a dissertation? That’s a worse academic crime than plagiarism.

    Do the victims have any legal recourse here? Other intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, service marks) have teeth — you can be sued for using things you don’t have the rights to. There’s quite a bit of copyright infringement here; is that a civil offense as well as an ethical one?

  11. CSK says:


    Crowley just announced that she will NOT be taking a post in the Trump administration. She will, instead, remain in NY “to pursue other opportunities.”

  12. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Here’s the link to that story.

    Aside from her announcement, absolute crickets from the Trump entourage. Question is; who told her to walk the plank? I suspect Ivanka.