Barbara Olson

Barbara Olson

Infobox Person
name = Barbara Olson

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birth_name = Barbara Kay Bracher
birth_date = December 27, 1955
birth_place = Houston
death_date = September 11, 2001
death_place = Arlington, Virginia
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death_cause = plane hijacking
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known_for = FOX News and CNN commentator
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home_town = Houston
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spouse = Theodore Olson
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Barbara Olson (December 27, 1955 – September 11, 2001) was a conservative American television commentator who worked for Fox News Channel, CNN and several other outlets. She was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77 en route to a taping of the television show "Politically Incorrect" when it was flown into the Pentagon in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Early life

Olson was born Barbara Kay Bracher in Houston, Texas. (Her older sister, Toni Bracher-Lawrence, has been a member of the Houston City Council since 2004.) She graduated from Waltrip High School [" [ Waltrip Trivia Page] ," "Waltrip High School"] and earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Saint Thomas in Houston.

Olson became a professional dancer, performing with the San Francisco Ballet and the Harkness Ballet in New York City. She switched careers and went to Hollywood to work as an assistant producer for television and movies.


As a newcomer, she achieved a surprising measure of success, working for HBO and Stacey Keach Productions. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yeshiva University's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. In the early 1990s, she worked as an associate at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering where she did civil litigation for several years before becoming an assistant U.S. attorney. In 1994, she left to work for the United States House of Representatives, becoming chief investigative counsel for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. In that position, she led the Travelgate and Filegate investigations into the Clinton administration. She co-founded the Independent Women's Forum with Rosalie Silberman. [ [ "Remembering IWF Founder Barbara Olson"] , Rosalie Silberman, Independent Women's Forum, December 1, 2001] She was later a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of the Alabama law firm Balch & Bingham.

She married Theodore Olson in 1996.

She was a frequent critic of the Bill Clinton administration and wrote a book about First Lady Hillary Clinton, "Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton" (1999). Olson was working on her second book, "The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House" (published October 2001) at the time of her death. She was a resident of Great Falls, Virginia.


Olson was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77 on her way to a taping of "Politically Incorrect" in Los Angeles, when it was flown into the Pentagon in the September 11, 2001 attacks. "Politically Incorrect" host Bill Maher left a panel seat vacant for a week following her death. During the duration of the flight, she called husband Ted Olsen who informed her of the crashes in New York.

Memorial lectures

The Federalist Society has established the Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lectures, "an annual lecture on limited government and the spirit of freedom", [ [ Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture] , Federalist Society website] held every November. The first lecture was a eulogy for her by her husband. [ [ First Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture] , Theodore Olson, November 16, 2001] Subsequent speakers have included Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Vice President Dick Cheney, [ [ Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture — Past Lecturers] , Federalist Society website] and Chief Justice John G. Roberts.


*"Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton" (November 1999; ISBN 0895262746)
*"The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House" (October 2001; ISBN 0895261677)


External links

* [ Barbara Olson] at
* [ Wife of Solicitor General alerted him of hijacking from plane]
* [ Barbara Olson Mourned at Arlington Service]
* [ Barbara Olson: A Sparkling Celebrity 'Full of Energy'] Search
* [ Barbara Olson, RIP] Memorial essay by Alfred S. Regnery, president of Regnery Publishing

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