NATO official, presumed presidential candidate Mircea Geoana, faces plagiarism accusations

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Mircea Geoana, the deputy secretary of NATO and presumed presidential candidate is facing plagiarism allegations in Romania over his doctoral thesis, following a journalistic investigation.

PressOne accused the former foreign minister on Monday of plagiarizing at least 78 pages out of 279 in his doctoral thesis almost 20 years ago.

Mr. Geoana, 65, denied he had deliberately committed plagiarism, and claimed he followed the academic rules of the time, PressOne reported.

High-level plagiarism, proven or alleged, is commonplace in Romania where many officials rushed to get a doctoral thesis for political and social advancement in the early 2000s when plagiarism detection was lax.

Former prime ministers Victor Ponta and Nicolae Ciuca have both been accused of plagiarism. Mr. Ponta was stripped of his doctoral thesis while Mr. Ciuca, who is expected to  run for president was cleared  of the charges while he was a sitting prime minister due to statute of limitations. A raft of other ministers and politicians have also faced plagiarism and cheating claims in recent years_ some resigning in the fallout .

Journalist Emilia Sercan has made a name _ and enemies_ fearlessly exposing cheating among the country’s elite. She was even targeted by a Kompromat smear (see article below).

Since she began publishing exposes a decade ago, Romania has tightened  plagiarism detection and rules with software.

In the latest investigation,her news site, PressOne, said that Mr. Geoana, who also served as Romania’s ambassador to the U.S. in the ’90s, reproduced dozens of pages of translations from annual reports presented to the US Congress by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush,  without attributing it or using quotation marks. 

The allegations are unlikely to seriously dent Mr. Geoana’s chances, if he runs as expected, especially as rival Mr. Ciuca faced identical plagiarism charges. Romania is expected to hold presidential elections in September though the main parties in the governing coalition have failed to agree on a date.

Mr. Geoana obtained his doctorate in July 2005 at the prestigious Romanian Academy of Economic Studies (ASE) in Bucharest with a thesis entitled „Developments in the North Atlantic area. Conclusions for Romania’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures”.

Ms. Șercan said at least 78 pages out of a total of 279 pages had plagiarized content – text, graphs and tables.

He used three reports presented by former former U.S presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, without citation or listing the works in the bibliography.

Responding to the allegations, Mr. Geoana told PresOne that he wrote his thesis „honestly” and does not feel that he violated „the rules of the time”.

„I don’t know, I’m telling you that what I did with my doctoral thesis was done absolutely honestly and I don’t feel like I have anything outside the rules of the time. Now… if the rules have changed in the meantime, it’s something else,” he was quoted as saying.

Under the legislation at the time, a doctoral thesis needed to have original work, PressOne reported.

Stopping short of admitting wrongdoing, he said he did not mind facing the allegations providing  they were made in „an objective and fair manner.” He was foreign minister from 2000 to 2004.

Romanian professors, writers, journalists rally round investigative journalist following ‘Kompromat’ attempt


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