Michael S. Smith II

Fellow, International Security Program

Michael S. Smith II is a fellow in New America's International Security program. He is a terrorism analyst who specializes in the influence operations of Salafi-Jihadist groups like al-Qa’ida and Islamic State. Smith’s insights on al-Qa’ida’s and Islamic State’s activities, along with opportunities to more effectively manage threats posed by them have been sought by members of Congress, White House officials, counterterrorism practitioners in the United States Intelligence Community, state and local law enforcement officials, as well as counterterrorism officials from various governments comprising the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh. His work for members of Congress has been entered into the Congressional Record and used as a source document for national security legislation signed by President Barack Obama (The Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012). Most recently, Smith provided expert testimony during the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism’s October 31, 2017 hearing focused on extremists’ and Russia’s influence operations that have entailed exploitations of popular social media and file-sharing technologies to target prospective terrorist recruits in the United States and American voters. Smith’s work assisting policymakers and his perspectives on terrorism-related developments have been covered extensively by major media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, BBC, Foreign Policy, Bloomberg, NPR, Voice of America and Newsweek. He has also contributed commentary pieces to a diverse mix of print and online publications, including Foreign Affairs, the Times of London, CNN.com, FoxNews.com, the Washington Times and the Christian Science Monitor. For his collaboration with hactivist collectives whose members infiltrated Islamic State social media networks and cyber infrastructure to gather information about plots and recruitment activities, Foreign Policy listed Smith among its “100 Leading Global Thinkers 2016.” In addition to work with New America’s International Security program, where his research focuses on terrorists’ activities on social media platforms, Smith is pursuing a doctorate in communication at Georgia State University, where his research foci include persuasion and terrorist propaganda produced to incite violence in the West. He received both his M.A. in intelligence and security studies, with distinction and honors, and a G.C. in intelligence analysis from The Citadel.

All Work

Social Media Jihad 2.0

New America welcomes terrorism analyst Michael S. Smith II to discuss ISIS' use of social media technologies