McCain hires controversial Syria analyst who inflated credentials
Published September 28, 2013
Sen. John McCain has hired a controversial Syria analyst who recently was fired by one D.C. organization and resigned from another after it emerged that she inflated her academic credentials.
The Republican senator's office confirmed to Fox News that Elizabeth O'Bagy was hired as a legislative assistant, and will start work next week.
“Elizabeth is a talented researcher, and I have been very impressed by her knowledge and analysis in multiple briefings over the last year. I look forward to her joining my office," McCain said in a statement.
O'Bagy's pro-Syrian opposition research was used by hawkish lawmakers, including McCain, to build the case for intervention against the Assad regime in Syria.
But her clout quickly eroded when she was fired by the Institute for the Study of War after the think tank alleged she lied about her education credentials.
O'Bagy reportedly first countered that she had defended her dissertation and was simply waiting for the university to confer the degree – but admitted last week she never enrolled in a Ph.D.program.
She apparently applied to a joint master's/Ph.D. program, but was not accepted and was only in the master's program.
O’Bagy also resigned from a Washington-based, pro-Syrian opposition group, The Syrian Emergency Task Force, in the wake of the controversy.
"I would like to deeply apologize to every person with whom I have worked, who has read and depended upon my research, and to the general public," O'Bagy said in a statement to The Daily Beast. "While I have made many mistakes and showed extremely poor judgment, I most particularly regret my public misrepresentation of my educational status and not immediately disclosing that I had not been awarded a doctorate in May 2013."
She went on to say she nevertheless stands by her findings from her work inside Syria.