WASHINGTON - The US researcher whose writings about the merits of moderate opposition forces in Syria were cited by Secretary of State John Kerry has been fired from a non-partisan think tank for misrepresenting her academic record, the group said on Wednesday.
Elizabeth O'Bagy had been a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. Her recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, saying that moderate opposition forces continued to lead the fight against the Syrian government, was cited by both Kerry and Senator John McCain in congressional hearings last week as they argued for US intervention in Syria.
But on Wednesday, the institute said on its website that it had "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."
The ISW's president, Kim Kagan, told Reuters the move was not a repudiation of O'Bagy's work, which she described as excellent.
"I stand by her assessments and her work," Kagan said. "This is a terrible tragedy."
O'Bagy, who also is the political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a nonprofit rebel support group based in Washington, could not be reached for comment.