O’Bagy has been Sacked

When Elizabeth O’Bagy appeared on Your World with Neil Cavuto this past September 5th, she was asked about a potential conflict of interest with respect to her role with the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF). O’Bagy had written an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which she expressed support for the Syrian rebels but did not disclose her role with SETF.

Elizabeth O'Bagy: Sacked

Elizabeth O’Bagy: Sacked

When politely called on this conflict of interest by Cavuto, O’Bagy insisted that she was not paid by SETF, saying that she was paid as an independent contractor. The implication was that she was paid by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). If that’s the case, she’s out of work and not being paid by anyone, as the ISW has terminated O’Bagy for identifying herself as having a Ph.D. from Georgetown University.

Via ISW:

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.

Here is what her bio said before she was fired:

Elizabeth O’Bagy is a Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, where she focuses on Syrian politics and security. She is in a joint Master’s/PhD program in Arab Studies and Political Science at Georgetown University and is working on a dissertation on women’s militancy. Prior to joining ISW, she received the Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic at the American School in Tangier, Morocco, and studied Arabic and political science at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. She holds a bachelor’s degree in the Arabic Language and Arab Studies from Georgetown University. {emphasis ours}

Frankly, this doesn’t seem all that egregious. In fact, it appears that bio is accurate. Apparently, O’Bagy was in a joint Master’s/PhD program. Via POLITICO, Kimberly Kagan, the founder of ISW spoke to this:

Kagan gave May of this year as a rough estimate of when O’Bagy’s biography on the ISW site was updated to state she had obtained her Ph.D. But the internet archive the Wayback Machine captured a version of O’Bagy’s biography page that listed her as in a joint Master’s/Ph.D. program as of June 23. Another organization O’Bagy was affiliated with, the Syrian Emergency Task Force, listed her as Dr. O’Bagy on May 13, however.

According to the May press release on SETF’s website (the page has since been taken down), O’Bagy was identified as “Dr. Elizabeth O’Bagy”. The red flag here appears to be more about O’Bagy’s role with SETF than it does with the accuracy of her bio at ISW. This smacks of ISW wanting to distance itself from O’Bagy because of SETF, which has been giving its website quite the overhaul recently.

Then again, there could be something else that’s spooking ISW.

Bryan Preston over at Pajamas Media has another potentially problematic development for O’Bagy. Before getting her Masters in Arabic Studies, she had a bio posted at the Policy Mic website in which she went by the name Bailey O’Bagy:

"Bailey" O'Bagy

“Bailey” O’Bagy

Did you catch that part about her playing soccer for the Egyptian national team? Preston apparently looked into that claim and in order for O’Bagy to do that, she must:

  • have at least one parent or grandparent who was born in Egypt or…
  • have lived in Egypt for at least two years

So, is Ms. O’Bagy Egyptian or did she live in Egypt for more than two years. The SETF press release announcing her addition to the group as a Political Director includes a bio that she did study Arabic at the American University of Cairo.

Also, take note that one of her two most favorite news sites is Al-Jazeera, which is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. Who does Al-Jazeera support in Syria? Well, the rebels.


In her interview with Cavuto, O’Bagy insisted that she was not paid by SETF, which apparently meant she was paid by ISW. If so, she’s still listed on the SETF website as a Political Director.

Is she doing that for free now?


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