Barbara Olson

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Barbara Olson (December 27, 1955 – September 11, 2001) was a lawyer and conservative American television commentator who worked for CNN, Fox News Channel, 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 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[1] 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[2] and Anita K. Blair. She was later a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of the Birmingham, Alabama law firm Balch & Bingham.

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