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.
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
had submitted and defended her
dissertation and was waiting for Georgetown University
to confer her
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.
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.
purported topic, she
would have partnered with Government - according to one Georgetown PhD student who met O'Bagy
had claimed a distinguished member of the Government Department as her
is not listed as a PhD student on the Government department's website.
does not exist in the university directory.
A search of the entire Georgetown website turns up only one hit, a congratulations notice for her
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.
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.
is hardly the first person to misrepresent her
academic credentials -- nor is she
the most egregious example.