McCain hires Syria rebel advocate Elizabeth O’Bagy

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Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain hired the Syria analyst in favor of U.S. intervention who was fired for fabricating her Ph.D., Foreign Policy reported.

Elizabeth O’Bagy, formerly of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), will start Monday as a legislative assistant in Sen. McCain’s office.

McCain told Foreign Policy that “Elizabeth is a talented researcher, and I have been very impressed by her knowledge and analysis in multiple briefings over the last year.” The senator’s office said they would not make any further comment on O’Bagy’s employment.

O’Bagy worked as a senior analyst at the non-profit public policy organization, which analyzes military affairs. McCain and Secretary of State John Kerrry catapulted O’Bagy into the spotlight by referencing an op-ed she published in the Wall Street Journal while making the case for war. (RELATED: Woman informing Kerry, McCain’s opinions also an advocate for the Syrian rebels)

McCain even refered to the analyst as “Dr. Elizabeth O’Bagy.” O’Bagy argued moderate Syrian rebels will be able to keep U.S. arms out of the hands of Islamist fighters.

Once O’Bagy became a leading voice for U.S. intervention, it was revealed that she never received a PhD from Georgetown University. It was later reported that not only was O’Bagy not awarded a final degree, she never even enrolled in the Georgetown program she had claimed. (RELATED: Think tank knew about O’Bagy’s Ph.D. question long before firing her)

The analyst did receive a master’s degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown.

O’Bagy began her work at ISW as an intern but got involved with their work on Syria for a longer term when researchers needed someone fluent in Arabic. ISW founder Kimberly Kagan said that she’d believed O’Bagy was working on her PhD at Georgetown.

The Daily Caller revealed that O’Bagy was also affiliated with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a pending nonproft without IRS approval that works to provide aid to Syrian rebels. She maintains that she took no part in the Task Force’s lobbying of the U.S. government.

The question O’Bagy originally addressed, whether moderate McCain-approved rebels would be able to keep U.S. weapons out of the hands of al Qaida-affiliated groups, remains a hot topic. The CIA funded and organized a sale of weapons to Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Coalition, more moderate rebel groups.

McCain has been the leading Republican voice for arming Syrian rebels and for increased U.S. intervention in Syria, attracting conservative criticism for supporting President Obama’s initial proposal for missile strikes against the Bashar al-Assad regime.

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