Syria Writer Elizabeth O’Bagy, Cited by Kerry, McCain, Fired for Ph.D. Lie

Share Article

Elizabeth O'Bagy, who was an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, said she had earned a doctorate from Georgetown University when she had not. President, James Boeddeker, says it’s always important to check an applicant’s credentials, regardless of whether the degree is needed for the job.

criminal background check,
Employment and Education verifications are an important step in the hiring process.

This story was originally reported on 09/12/2013 by CNN. For the full article please visit CNN. This Site makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

CNN reported that a lie about earning a Ph.D. cost a Syria expert her job as an analyst days after her op-ed in the Wall Street Journal was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain in congressional hearings about possible U.S. military action in the war-torn country. "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," the institute posted in an online statement Wednesday.

According to CNN, the president of the institute, Dr. Kim Kagan, said she was surprised to learn of O'Bagy's lie just before the former senior research analyst admitted it on Tuesday. The decision to terminate O'Bagy's employment at the institute was made later that day, Kagan said. O'Bagy was hired a year ago as a research analyst, after she had been working as an intern at the institute for a few months. O'Bagy proved to be an exceptional researcher and analyst, and Kagan said she was "pleased and proud to move her forward."

CNN also reported that according to Kagan, the institute never had reason to doubt O'Bagy's qualifications, and she could not comprehend any motivation the former employee would have for lying about her education. O'Bagy received a Master of Arts degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown University in May and was allegedly working on her dissertation for a Ph.D, which she told Kagan she had completed later that month, Kagan said. "I hired (O'Bagy) without (a doctorate degree) and would have kept her if she hadn't pursued it. So this is particularly sad," Kagan said.

James Boeddeker, President of, a leading provider of criminal background checks and pre-employment verifications stated, "Employment and education verifications are an important step in the hiring process. It’s important to find out what the applicant is willing to lie about. We run millions of background checks a year for our clients in order to help them minimize the risk of hiring someone without proper credentials."

CNN states that O'Bagy has appeared on several television networks, including BBC, CNN, Fox and PBS. Last week, she was a guest on CNN Newsroom and Fox News, speaking about Syria. Because of the revelation about her false doctorate, O'Bagy will not appear again as an analyst on CNN networks. was started in 1991 in Cincinnati, Ohio. provides a full range of employee screening background check reports including criminal background checks, employment verifications, education verifications, drug screenings and professional license verifications.

For further questions or to schedule an interview, contact Carl Brown at 513-522-8764.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Carl Brown
513-522-8764 3030
Email >
Follow us on
Visit website


Syria Writer Elizabeth O’Bagy, Cited by Kerry, McCain, Fired for Ph.D. Lie