Early life and education
O'Bagy is originally from Holladay, Utah, a Salt Lake City suburb, and a 2005 graduate of Olympus High School. She is the daughter of David and Mickey O'Bagy. O'Bagy attended Georgetown University and earned a B.A. in 2009 in Arabic from Georgetown College and M.A. in 2013, in Arab studies from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.
Described as a "Syria researcher" in 2013, O'Bagy, who had previously written for The Atlantic, contributed an op-ed to the Wall Street Journal that was cited by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator John McCain during a U.S. Senate hearing to support possible United States military intervention into the Syrian civil war. At the time of the hearing, O'Bagy's official biography listed the 26-year-old as "Dr. Elizabeth O'Bagy" and claimed she had received a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Following the hearing, however, the Institute for the Study of War terminated O'Bagy, posting a statement to its website that read "Elizabeth O'Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University" as she had previously represented to institute officials.
O'Bagy also had an unrevealed affiliation with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a U.S.-based group advocating the armed overthrow of the government of Syria. In her paid work with that group, done simultaneously with her job at the officially nonpartisan Institute for the Study of War, she had lobbied American political leaders to send heavy weaponry to Syrian insurgent groups.
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