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This profile was last updated on 3/8/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Ms. Elizabeth O'Bagy

Wrong Elizabeth O'Bagy?

Syria Analyst

Local Address:  Washington , United States
Sen. John McCain

Employment History


  • Ph.D.
  • Ph.D. degree
    Georgetown University
  • masters
    Georgetown University
  • Ph.D. program
    Georgetown University
  • Ph.D. program
    Georgetown University
195 Total References
Web References
McCain Hires Controversial Syria Analyst ..., 8 Mar 2014 [cached]
McCain Hires Controversial Syria Analyst Elizabeth O'Bagy
Sen. John McCain has hired Elizabeth O'Bagy, the Syria analyst in Washington who was fired for padding her credentials, The Cable has learned. She begins work Monday as a legislative assistant in McCain's office. O'Bagy was a young but well-respected adviser at the Institute for the Study of War and had emerged quickly as an important voice among those arguing in favor of intervention in Syria.
Institute for the Study of War - Profile - Right Web - Institute for Policy Studies, 10 Mar 2014 [cached]
Elizabeth O'Bagy, a researcher who led the organization's Syria Team for much of 2013, advocated more forceful strategies while based at ISW, including pushing direct U.S. attacks on critical regime infrastructure and supplying the rebels with heavy weaponry. O'Bagy outlined this case in a controversial August 2013 op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which she also argued that reports of extremist involvement in Syria's armed opposition were overblown-a claim that was subsequently repeated by intervention advocates like Sen.
More controversially, the Journal initially failed to disclose that O'Bagy had been a paid consultant-with the title "political director"-for the Syrian Emergency Task Force, an interest group deeply linked to the Syrian rebels that has advocated similar position's to O'Bagy's. "O'Bagy seems to pass herself off as an impartial observer of the situation," said one Center for Security Policy staffer quoted by the Daily Caller. "Her access to Congress, intelligence services and to think tanks should be regarded as what it really is, which is a reflection of the Syrian rebels' cause and aspirations."[3] ISW stood by O'Bagy's impartiality, but subsequently fired her after learning that she had exaggerated her credentials in claiming that she had earned a PhD from Georgetown when in fact she was not even enrolled in a program.[4]
May 29, 2013 - BBC - ..., 29 May 2013 [cached]
May 29, 2013 - BBC - Elizabeth O'Bagy
Elizabeth O'Bagy, Institute for the Study of War:
Elizabeth O'Bagy is a Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, where she focuses on Syrian politics and security.
Academia | Daniel W. Drezner, 16 Nov 2013 [cached]
Until yesterday, Elizabeth O'Bagy was a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War and an increasingly prominent expert on the Syrian rebel groups. Then the institute announced the following:
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. ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O'Bagy's employment, effective immediately.
O'Bagy's exact academic status was unclear in the reportage. According what O'Bagy told Politico, "she had submitted and defended her dissertation and was waiting for Georgetown University to confer her degree. However, according to BuzzFeed, "O'Bagy has a masters from Georgetown University and was enrolled in a Ph.D program, but had not yet defended her dissertation.
O'Bagy was enrolled in the Arab Studies Master's program, which only partners with three departments for joint doctorate programs: Government, History, and Arabic Language, Literature, and Linguistics. Given her purported topic, she would have partnered with Government - according to one Georgetown PhD student who met O'Bagy, she had claimed a distinguished member of the Government Department as her adviser.
She is not listed as a PhD student on the Government department's website. She does not exist in the university directory. A search of the entire Georgetown website turns up only one hit, a congratulations notice for her Master's graduation.
sources at Georgetown confirm Beauchamp's account, telling me that there is zero evidence that O'Bagy was ever enrolled in any Ph.D. program at Georgetown.
O'Bagy's Aug. 30 op-ed piece for the Journal, "On the Front Lines of Syria's Civil War," was cited by both Kerry and McCain last week.
"In addition to her role at the Institute for the Study of War, Ms. O'Bagy is affiliated with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a nonprofit operating as a 501(c)(3) pending IRS approval that subcontracts with the U.S. and British governments to provide aid to the Syrian opposition," the WSJ added in its clarification.
Or, as CNN's Jake Tapper pithily put it: "It's all part of the weird world of Washington - a doctor who is not a doctor writes an op-ed testifying for the rebels, without disclosing that she is paid for by a rebel advocacy group, and her words are seized as evidence by experts - Kerry and McCain."
So there's that. It is certainly possible that O'Bagy's WSJ op-ed is 100% accurate. The thing is, misrepresenting one's affiliations and credentials go to credibility, and O'Bagy now has two strikes against her.
The other thing is why O'Bagy felt the need to misrepresent her credentials, and why the hell it took so long for Kagan and the ISW to ferret this out.
O'Bagy is hardly the first person to misrepresent her academic credentials -- nor is she the most egregious example.
Renee Montagne (NPR) talks with ..., 9 Sept 2013 [cached]
Renee Montagne (NPR) talks with Elizabeth O'Bagy
September 6, 2013- NPR talked with SETF Political Director Elizabeth O'bagy about the composition of rebel forces inside Syria. Listen to the report here.
Elizabeth O'Bagy appears on Fox News
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