The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said this afternoon that it will investigate the work of Arnaud de Borchgrave, one of the think tank’s program directors and a columnist for the Washington Times and United Press International.
“We were unaware of any plagiarism until I saw your piece, and we take it very seriously. We will be conducting an internal review,” says H. Andrew Schwartz, CSIS’s senior vice president for external relations.
The CSIS spokesman is referring to a report on this blog about instances where de Borchgrave’s writings closely shadowed the work of other authors published on the Internet. Salon.com yesterday published another set of literary borrowings and reported an allegation of a cover-up by Washington Times officials of de Borchgrave’s misdeeds.
Schwartz told the Erik Wemple Blog that the think tank approaches the allegations against de Borchgrave with “very serious concern” and is convening a committee to handle the review.
De Borchgrave is director of CSIS’s transnational threats project and writes in great depth about terrorism and international relations, with a focus on Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East. Earlier today, the Erik Wemple Blog asked CSIS about a couple of instances of apparent literary lifting involving CSIS reports — one that carried de Borchgrave’s own byline and the other from a report with three contributors, including de Borchgrave.
A July 2007 report titled “Force Multiplier for Intelligence” contains an introduction by de Borchgrave. A passage in the introduction reads as follows:
The number of terror suspects monitored by Britain’s MI5 has grown 25 percent in the past six months. This security agency, along with police, are surveilling some 2,000 British residents, mostly from Pakistan, that say they are actively supporting al Qaeda.
More than 400,000 British Pakistanis travel to Pakistan every year on innocent family visits. From Karachi, a city of 15 million, it is easy to head up to the hills for training in explosives and weapons. This was how the London bombers (of July 7, 2005) received their final training before returning to the United Kingdom. There is also a new Pakistan-Iraq-UK nexus as young jihadis return to Britain after a stint in Iraq.
Two months earlier, the BBC published a story on the same topic, with these key paragraphs:
The number of terror suspects being monitored by MI5 in the UK has grown by a quarter in the past six months, the BBC has learned.
The security service and police are monitoring about 2,000 individuals who they say are actively involved in supporting al-Qaeda. Some are thought to have direct links with al-Qaeda in Pakistan. The fertiliser bomb plot case has highlighted the links to terrorist training camps in Pakistan.
More than 400,000 Britons each year go to Pakistan on innocent family visits. But Pakistani intelligence agents cannot follow everyone.
And from cites like Karachi, it’s easy for Jihadist recruits to head up into the hills to training camps hidden in areas like Malakand. There, they’re taught explosives and weapon handling by al-Qaeda veterans. This is how the London bombers got their final training before returning to Britain. . . .
The al-Qaeda nexus is extensive. Its core base is now in and around Waziristan - close to the Pakistan/Afghan border. Operatives travel from there to Britain. New recruits fly in the other way. There are also links with al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq. And those, in turn, are linked back to Britain, where young Jihadis have been coming back from Iraq.
A March 2006 CSIS report titled “Open Source Information: The Missing Dimension of Intelligence” was authored by de Borchgrave and two others. A passage on Page 5 of the report reads as follows:
The Search for a New Ummah, Olivier Roy, one of France’s leading scholars of modern Islamism, notes striking parallels between today’s jihadists and Europe’s radical left of the 1960s and 1970s. The two movements have drawn from similar social pools of alienated, dislocated youth. And they have chosen similar symbols---beards, guns and sanctified texts (with the Koran substituting for Marx and Sayed Qutb, the Egyptian whose theories inspired the Muslim Brotherhood, for Gramsci) — and targets — ”imperialism,” “gloabalization,” “Americanization.”
The Islamic extremist notion of a pan-Islamic Ummah, or nation, says Roy, recalls the Trotskyists’ idea of the proletariat: “an imaginary and therefore silent community that gives legitimacy to the small groups pretending to speak in its name.” The triumph of Islam is held to be, as the triumph of socialism once was, “inevitable.”
Similar phrasing spills forth from an August 2005 edition of the New York Review of Books:
This strategy is not original. In Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah, Olivier Roy, one of France’s leading scholars of modern Islamism, notes striking parallels between today’s jihadists and Europe’s radical left of the 1960s and 1970s. The two movements have drawn from similar social pools of alienated, dislocated youth. They have chosen similar symbols (beards and guns and sanctified texts: the Koran substituting for Marx, Sayed Qutb, the Egyptian whose theories inspired the Muslim Brotherhood, for Gramsci) and targets (“imperialism,” “globalization,” “Americanization”). The jihadists’ notion of a pan-Islamic Ummah, or nation, says Roy, recalls the Trotskyists’ idea of the proletariat: “an imaginary and therefore silent community that gives legitimacy to the small groups pretending to speak in its name.” The triumph of Islam is held to be, as the triumph of socialism once was, “inevitable.”
Damning side-by-side text is something of a shock to the CSIS’s system. The outfit, says Schwartz, has never had a problem with literary attribution, perhaps because of strongly worded internal warnings on the matter.
“We do have in our guidelines that plagiarism is not something that’s tolerated here. We’ve never had to discipline anybody for anything like this, so I think the consequences of plagiarism could vary depending on the context. They could include serious penalties,” says Schwartz.
De Borchgrave e-mailed this blog a statement this afternoon: “If I dropped a few quote marks inadvertently, mea culpa. Everyone makes mistakes. I will make certain the appropriate quotation marks will be there in the future.”