Michael S. Smith II

Michael S. Smith II is an American terrorism analyst, specialist in open source intelligence (OSINT), and a consultant in preventing and countering violent extremism.[3][4] He is also a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University's Global Security Studies program.[3][4]

Michael S. Smith II
Michael S. Smith II (cropped).jpg
EducationBachelor of Arts in arts management; Graduate certificate and Master's in intelligence analysis[1][2]
Alma materCollege of Charleston; The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina
OccupationSecurity consultant
Years active2005-present
Known forTerrorism analysis and collaboration with anti-ISIS hactivists


Smith received his undergraduate degree in arts management from the College of Charleston, and a graduate certificate in Intelligence Analysis, followed by a master's degree in Intelligence and Security Studies, from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina.[1][2] As of 2017 he was in a PhD program at Georgia State University in Communications, studying persuasion theory and terrorist propaganda produced to incite violence in the West.[5][6]


In 2011, Smith founded Kronos Advisory, a security consulting firm with retired Marine General James E. Livingston.[1][7]

Kronos provided a report to a Congressional caucus on the Quds Force in 2011.[8] In 2013, Kronos began briefing the United States government on ISIS’s aspiration to perpetrate terrorist attacks in Europe.[9]

Along with consulting for various government agencies, he tracked terrorist activity on social media and commented on it, and was called on as a pundit by various media groups.[1][7][10] Smith was described as "a Republican counterterrorism specialist"[11][12] and "an al-Qaeda analyst".[13] In 2016, in recognition of his work "funneling hacker tips" about ISIS's activities online to government officials, Foreign Policy magazine included Smith among the "Moguls" on its annual list of "100 Leading Global Thinkers", and Fast Company magazine ranked Smith 14 on its list of the "100 Most Creative People in Business" for "helping hack the bad guys".[14][15]

In January 2017 Kronos was dissolved.[16] Smith reportedly considered taking a position in the Pentagon at the request of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, but decided to instead pursue a doctorate degree due to his concerns about Sebastian Gorka's role in the Trump administration.[6] In February 2017, Smith became involved in a public dispute with Gorka (then a senior advisor in the Trump administration) after Smith criticized Gorka on social media and in comments quoted in a story published by The Wall Street Journal.[11][17]

Beginning in October 2017, Smith served as a fellow at the Washington, DC-based think tank New America for five months.[2]

With representatives of Twitter, Facebook and Google, Smith provided expert testimony during the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism's October 31, 2017 hearing focused on extremist content and Russian disinformation online.[18] In his testimony, Smith argued anonymity provided to social media users by major companies has increased the attractiveness of their technologies for terrorist groups like ISIS and he suggested that legislation should be implemented to compel tech companies to restrict VPN use on their platforms only to those whose identities they know.[19][20]

In February 2018, Smith tweeted statements about the Chinese government that were described by HuffPost and various online news commentators as racist.[21][22] New America terminated Smith's fellowship in response to his tweet and Smith apologized for it.[23]

Since 2019, Smith has been a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University's Global Security Studies program.[3][4][24]


  1. ^ a b c d Graham, Alison (July 29, 2016). "Charleston man on front line of intelligence monitoring by tracking ISIS social media". Post and Courier.
  2. ^ a b c "Michael S Smith II". LinkedIn. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b c McKelvey, Tara (10 August 2020). "Biden VP pick: Susan Rice, the diplomat and lightning rod". BBC News. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Michael S. Smith II, Lecturer". Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Prepared testimony of Michael S. Smith II Terrorism Analyst" (PDF). United States Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. October 31, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Moore, Thad (February 23, 2017). "Charleston-based terrorism analyst feuding with top White House national security adviser". Post and Courier.
  7. ^ a b Knibbs, Kate (February 3, 2016). "Is This Vigilante Group Fighting ISIS or Just Feeding the Media a Fat Load of Crap?". Gizmodo.
  8. ^ Associated Press (14 October 2011). "Ambassador plot casts light on Iran's strike force". The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon.
  9. ^ Rukmini Callimachi. "How ISIS Built the Machinery of Terror Under Europe's Gaze". The New York Times. March 29, 2016
  10. ^ Stewart, Christopher S.; Maremont, Mark (13 April 2016). "Twitter and Islamic State Deadlock on Social Media Battlefield". Wall Street Journal.
  11. ^ a b Harris, Shane (21 February 2017). "Conservative Pundit Sebastian Gorka Brings 'Global Jihadist Movement' Theory Into White House". Wall Street Journal.
  12. ^ On 8 March 2020, Smith noted via his verified Twitter account that he had "not been a Republican for three years".@MichaelSSmithII (8 March 2020). "I have not been a Republican for two years. It has been three years since I ran a company that was involved with counterterrorism work" (Tweet). Retrieved 7 November 2020 – via Twitter.
  13. ^ Callimachi, Rukmini; Schmitt, Eric (September 17, 2015). "Iran Released Top Members of Al Qaeda in a Trade". New York Times.
  14. ^ 100 "Leading Global Thinkers 2016: The Moguls". Foreign Policy. 2016 (precise publication date not specified). Retrieved June 29, 2018
  15. ^ "The Most 100 Creative People in Business 2016". Fast Company. 2016 (precise publication date not specified)
  16. ^ "Kronos Advisory LLC". South Carolina Secretary of State. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  17. ^ Welna, David (February 24, 2017). "Criticized By Peers, White House Counterterrorism Adviser Returns Fire". NPR.
  18. ^ Kathryn Watson. "Social media sites testify before lawmakers in Russia probe - live updates". CBS News. Last updated November 1, 2017
  19. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (November 5, 2017). "Terrorism Is Faster Than Twitter". New York Times.
  20. ^ Francis, David (August 18, 2016). "Twitter Just Suspended 235,000 Extremist Accounts. It's the Ones Still Open That Are the Problem". Foreign Policy.
  21. ^ Yam, Kimberly (23 February 2018). "Terrorism Analyst Fired For Racist Tweet Mocking Chinese Government". Huffington Post.
  22. ^ Watson, Libby (February 23, 2018). "I Cannot Believe This Racist Tweet". Splinter.
  23. ^ Caralle, Katelyn (23 February 2018). "Think tank analyst fired after mocking Chinese-American accent on Twitter". Washington Examiner.
  24. ^ Cohen, Zachary; Westwood, Sarah; Acosta, Jim; Brown, Pamela (12 July 2019). "Trump again considering replacing intelligence chief Dan Coats". CNN. Retrieved 7 November 2020.