Pro-rebel Syria researcher fired for false doctoral claim
posted at 12:17 pm on September 11, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Elizabeth O’Bagy has been cited by the Obama administration, Senator John McCain, and John Kerry as a key resource for their claim that the Syrian rebel forces are mostly moderates and not Sunni extremists affiliated with al-Qaeda. They’re going to have to find another source for that argument after the think tank that employs O’Bagy abruptly fired her today for faking her doctorate:
A young researcher whose opinions on Syria were cited by both Senator McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry in congressional testimony last week has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for allegedly faking her academic credentials.
The institute issued a statement on its website concerning the researcher, Elizabeth O’Bagy:
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 and her op-ed drew scrutiny last week when the Wall Street Journal failed to disclose O’Bagy’s ties to an advocacy group backing the Syrian opposition and lobbying the US government to intervene in Syria. The Journal was forced to post a clarification that “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.”
O’Bagy also was reluctant to disclose her affiliation with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, which is an advocacy group for the rebels. She later claimed her research for ISW was separate from the SETF, but her abrupt dismissal is liable to raise a lot more questions about the quality of analysis that’s driving the Obama administration’s push to arm and support the rebels.