Fresh from delivering the Democratic response to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s 21-hour marathon against Obamacare, Sen. John McCain has added to his foreign policy staff. The hire is among the most bizarre imaginable.
Sen. John McCain has hired Elizabeth O’Bagy, the Syria analyst in Washington who was fired for padding her credentials, The Cable has learned. She begins work Monday as a legislative assistant in McCain’s office.
O’Bagy was a young but well-respected adviser at the Institute for the Study of War and had emerged quickly as an important voice among those arguing in favor of intervention in Syria. McCain and others had cited her work publicly before her nascent reputation collapsed when it was discovered that her claims to having a combined masters/PhD were false and that in fact she had not yet defended her thesis.
“Elizabeth is a talented researcher, and I have been very impressed by her knowledge and analysis in multiple briefings over the last year,” McCain told The Cable in a statement. “I look forward to her joining my office.” McCain’s office said there would be no further comment on the matter.
O’Bagy was fired from the Institute for the Study of War for lying about her academic credentials. She also left the Syrian Emergency Task Force quietly earlier this month. That group, which receives State Department funding which in turn paid O’Bagy for her SETF work, remains headed by Mouaz Moustafa. Mr. Moustafa, a Palestinian activist, has admitted that he supports Hamas and opposes Israel.
O’Bagy represented herself in media as an unbiased observer who had found that Syria’s rebellion is mostly moderate, and not Islamist, even while she worked with the SETF, which openly advocates for increasing US involvement in Syria’s civil war. But she also vouched for a group that published anti-American material on social media.
Earlier this year, O’Bagy’s SETF arranged a McCain trip to Syria that ended in embarrassment for the senior senator from Arizona. Now O’Bagy has a full-time job on his staff.