Michael S. Smith, II

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Michael S. Smith II is a terrorism analyst who specializes in the Islamic State’s and al-Qaeda’s influence operations, an international consultant in the field of countering violent extremism whose recent projects include work on a United States government-funded assistive guidance program in the Balkans, and a teaching fellow in Johns Hopkins University’s Global Security Studies program. In October 2017, Mr. Smith delivered expert testimony concerning these issues during the Senate judiciary committee hearing focused on terrorists’ and Russia’s uses of American companies’ social media platforms to wage influence operations against the United States and its allies.

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Foreign Policy Essay

Fitna, a Failed Coup and a Squandered Opportunity to Undermine the Islamic State’s ‘Intangible Power’

Editor’s Note: The Islamic State seeks to project an image of strength, and that image has attracted many followers. In the past few years, the above-ground caliphate has collapsed and infighting is growing, but the group still stresses its prowess and leadership in its propaganda. Michael Smith II, a terrorism analyst who specializes in jihadist influence operations, calls for the United States to exploit the Islamic State’s internal dissent in its own counter-propaganda, playing up these divisions to further weaken the group.

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Foreign Policy Essay

Is President Trump Enabling the Islamic State’s Power of Persuasion?

Editor’s Note: Terrorists' use of the Internet in all its forms remains an important source of their power and influence. Michael Smith, an analyst focusing on jihadist influence operations, calls for a much more aggressive set of government policies and laws to push technology companies to do more for counterterrorism. Although many analysts contend technology companies have upped their game, Smith argues that there is far, far more to be done.

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