Pick for top comms post pulls out amid plagiarism claims

WASHINGTON • The conservative author and pundit chosen by US President-elect Donald Trump for a top communications post on the National Security Council (NSC) has decided not to accept the position, amid allegations that she plagiarised key passages in a best-selling book.

"After much reflection, I have decided to remain in New York to pursue other opportunities and will not be taking a position in the incoming administration," Ms Monica Crowley, a former Fox News commentator, told The Washington Times, where she was previously an online opinion editor.

Ms Crowley, who had been tapped to serve as senior director of strategic communications for the NSC, made no mention of the plagiarism allegations.

Mr Trump's future national security adviser, General Michael Flynn, confirmed Ms Crowley's withdrawal, adding: "We wish her all the best."

Ms Crowley, who holds a doctorate in international relations, had been named on Dec 15 to the NSC post, in which she would have helped shape the Trump administration's messaging on diplomatic and security issues. But she also would have helped to write speeches - making the plagiarism charges more sensitive.

CNN reported on Jan 7 that dozens of passages in Ms Crowley's book What The (Bleep) Just Happened? had been closely copied from other sources. Publisher HarperCollins subsequently withdrew the book.

The Trump team at first defended Ms Crowley as the victim of "a political attack", without confirming or denying the allegations. Then Politico found other copied passages in her doctoral thesis on US-Chinese relations, completed in 2000 while she was at Columbia University.

Late last month, another Trump appointee, Mr Jason Miller, withdrew his name as White House communications director. He said he wanted to spend more time with his family, although his withdrawal followed tweets from another Trump adviser suggesting that Mr Miller had had an extramarital affair.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2017, with the headline 'Pick for top comms post pulls out amid plagiarism claims'. Print Edition | Subscribe