Elizabeth O'Bagy claimed she earned a Ph.D. she had not, Wall Street Journal says
Elizabeth O'Bagy, who was an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, said she had earned a doctorate from Georgetown University when she had not, the organization announced Wednesday.
"The Institute for the Study of War
has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her
representations, Ms. Elizabeth O'Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University
has accordingly terminated Ms. O'Bagy's
employment, effective immediately," the institute posted in an online statement Wednesday.
The decision to terminate O'Bagy's
employment at the institute was made later that day, Kagan said.
O'Bagy was hired a year ago as a research analyst, after she had been working as an intern at the institute for a few months.
proved to be an exceptional researcher and analyst, and Kagan said she
was "pleased and proud to move her
Last week, both Kerry and McCain cited O'Bagy's
op-ed piece, which was published in the Wall Street Journal
on August 30, titled "On the Front Lines of Syria's Civil War.
According to O'Bagy's
op-ed, extremists and moderates exercise control over distinct areas of the country, and checkpoints are often set up to define territory.
Also, there are distinct areas where moderate rebels are in control and can keep weapons out of the hands of extremists, O'Bagy
in an interview last week.
Kerry and McCain agreed with O'Bagy
that Syria is a secular state; McCain even called her op-ed "important."
Initially, the Wall Street Journal
only recognized O'Bagy
as a "senior analyst" at the institute, but a clarification was later added, stating her
affiliation with the Syrian Emergency Task Force
, a non-profit organization based in Washington that advocates a free and democratic Syria.
responded on Twitter last week to scrutiny over her
association with the Syrian rebel advocacy group, writing she
never tried to conceal her
ties with opposition and rebel commanders and is not being paid to advocate her
views on Syria.
Rather these connections allow her
to travel more safely in Syria, she
"I'm not trying to trick America here," O'Bagy
tweeted on September 7.
Before accepting her position as political director of SETF
had to ask Kagan for approval.
" to its Washington staff.
The news release has since been removed.
It's unclear whether O'Bagy still holds her position at the SETF in light of the revelations about her non-existent doctorate degree.
was not immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
received a Master of Arts degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown University in May and was allegedly working on her
dissertation for a Ph.D, which she
told Kagan she
had completed later that month, Kagan said.
"I hired (O'Bagy) without (a doctorate degree) and would have kept her
hadn't pursued it.
never had the administrative power to enter data into the institute's resource database, she
has appeared on several television networks, including BBC
, Fox and PBS
Last week, she
was a guest on CNN
Newsroom and Fox News, speaking about Syria.
Because of the revelation about her
false doctorate, O'Bagy
will not appear again as an analyst on CNN