Lisa Daftari

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Lisa Daftari
Lisa Daftari.JPG
NationalityIranian American
OccupationJournalist and commentator
EmployerFox News Channel

Lisa Daftari is an investigative journalist focusing on foreign affairs, with a specialization in Middle Eastern policy and counterterrorism. She regularly appears on television and radio with commentary and analysis, providing exclusive reporting on vital developments in the region. Currently, she is an on-air Fox News political analyst and has previously been featured on CBS, NBC, PBS, the Washington Post, NPR, ABC, Voice of America, and others. Lisa also serves as founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Foreign Desk, an international news and U.S. foreign policy news website.[1] Daftari has been interviewed in Spanish, English, and Persian.

Her areas of expertise and coverage include the Middle East and North Africa, terrorism, national security, the Arab Spring, global Christian persecution, human rights, cyber security, and more. She was invited to show her documentary film about an Iranian underground political movement in Congress. She frequently is called upon to give briefs and expert testimony for government and private entities. Daftari has worked for a number of think tanks in Washington, where she has written exclusive reports for the Pentagon and other government groups.[2]

Early life[edit]

Daftari was born in New Jersey to Sean and Simin Daftari. Her father is a physician and college professor, and her mother has a background in language and accounting. Her parents are Iranian Jews who met in United States and married in Iran. She grew up in Bergen County, the second of four Daftari children.[3] Daftari attended Jewish school and finished high school at a private Jewish school in New Jersey.[4] Lisa graduated from Rutgers University New Brunswick with a B.A. in Spanish, Middle Eastern studies, and vocal performance. She went on to receive her masters degree in broadcast journalism at the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California, where she was awarded a Presidential Merit Scholarship. Using her grant, she delivered the exclusive story of four Iranian brothers detained in federal prison on charges connecting them to the MEK, a political organization opposed to the Iranian government. She delivered her report on PBS for a 9/11 anniversary show.[5]

Daftari is fluent in English, Persian, Hebrew, and Spanish and is an avid opera singer and pianist.[3]

Daftari is a supporter of Israel.[4]

In 2018, her talk at Rutgers University was cancelled because of accusations of Islamophobia.[6] Rutgers later apologized for "cancelling" her talk, saying to her in a phone conversation that they wanted to cancel but would rather call it a 'postponement'. Sometime thereafter they offered her multiple alternate dates to return, which she refused, as she felt that Rutgers had mischaracterized the issue. It was claimed that she had said, “Islamic terror takes its guidance and teachings from the Quran, which is Sharia law,” whereas she had actually said “Islamic terror CLAIMS to take its teachings from the Quran.”[7]


In 2006, while in graduate school, Daftari was invited to show her thesis documentary film about an underground Iranian political group, Marze Por Gohar, to Congress.[8][9] During that time, she worked as an associate producer in the investigative unit at NBC in Los Angeles. While at NBC, she helped break the story about the 2005 Los Angeles bomb plot, in which Jamiyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, an Islamist prison gang, planned to bomb prominent Los Angeles sites.[10]

In 2007, after graduating, Daftari left NBC to work as a researcher for several think tanks focusing on the Middle East and counterterrorism. She attended several hearings on Iran divestment in the California State Assembly. At the end of that year, she delivered a 100-page report about Iranian youth movements to the Pentagon.[11]

In 2009, Daftari began appearing on the Fox News Channel commentating on developments in the Middle East and Iran, in particular. She now appears frequently on the network on various television and radio programs.[12]

In 2015, she launched "The Foreign Desk," a website dedicated to reporting stories from around the world with an emphasis on their impact on human rights, global security, and U.S. foreign policy.[12]


  1. ^ "Lisa Daftari Launches the Foreign Desk – Your New Foreign Policy Go-To".
  2. ^ Daftari, Lisa. "Linkedin". Linkedin. Linkedin. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b Imani, Amil (25 June 2011). "A Conversation with Journalist Lisa Daftari". American Thinker. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-11-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Daftari, Lisa; Eisenberg, David; Juarez, Leo (4 August 2006). "3 Years in Jail, 0 Charges Filed: The story of the Mirmehdi brothers". News 21. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Rutgers Postpones Alum's Speaking Appearance on Free Speech After Islamophobia Accusations". 13 October 2018.
  7. ^ Dillon, Kassy (17 October 2018). "Rutgers Apologizes After Allegedly Cancelling Conservative Alum's Speech". Daily Wire. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  8. ^ Daftari, Lisa (17 July 2006). Thesis on Marze Por Gohar (Speech). United States Congress. Washington, D.C. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  9. ^ Daftari, Lisa (2006). Marze Por Gahar: The struggle to bring democracy to Iran (M.A. thesis). ISBN 978-0-542-90114-0. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  10. ^ "Four indicted in alleged L.A. terror plot". CNN Justice. 1 September 2005. Archived from the original on 23 September 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  11. ^ Daftari, Lisa. "To be pessimistic would be wrong". Lisa Daftari. Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Finance".

External links[edit]