Dem Senator up for re-election in Montana blames master’s thesis plagiarism on PTSD

A U.S. senator blames his alleged academic plagiarism on treatments he was undergoing for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


According to the Associated Press, Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) claims he was under treatment for PTSD from his term of service in Iraq when he wrote his master's thesis, in which he used the work of other authors without proper attribution.

Walsh told the AP that his mind "was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment" when he wrote the thesis paper. He had been back from the Iraq War for nearly two years at that point, but said he was still suffering from nightmares, insomnia, panic attacks and anxiety exacerbated by the suicide of a fellow veteran.

The medications he was taking to treat the symptoms, said Walsh, impaired his judgment. He told the AP that he has worked through the issues since then, and is willing to offer apologies and correct attribution to the scholars whose work he misappropriated.

The U.S. Army War College, where Walsh received his masters, told the New York Times that Walsh's thesis paper will be run through an online plagiarism detection program.

Retired brigadier general and War College Provost Lance Betros said that the institution has opened an investigation into the matter and intends to take appropriate action.

“We’re not going to treat this any differently than with another student,” said Betros.

Walsh was appointed to the Senate in February by Montana's Gov. Steve Bullock (D) to fill the vacant seat left by Sen. Max Baucus (D), who retired from the Senate to become ambassador to China. He is running for his seat this year against Republican Congressman Steve Daines (MT), who currently leading the race.

[image of Sen. John Walsh via Facebook.com]