The Full Wiki

More info on W. Thomas Smith, Jr

W. Thomas Smith, Jr: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to W. Thomas Smith, Jr. article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

W. Thomas Smith, Jr. (born April 30, 1959) is an American author, editor, and journalist. He has written several books. His articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. Smith is executive editor of World Defense Review, a columnist with, and a former contributor to National Review Online.

In November 2007, he became the subject of controversy on the basis of three blog posts he wrote in September 2007 for the Tank, a section of National Review Online. In those articles, Smith wrote about what he alleged were Hezbollah activities in Lebanon. The Huffington Post published a story based on journalists' allegations that Smith exaggerated or made up two events. In response, Smith said he had only failed to be "specific in terms of detailing his sourcing."

After an internal NRO investigation, Smith's editors declared that NRO could not stand by the blogging because two reports were not able to be verified outside of Smith's sources. On December 7, 2007, Smith announced he would resign as a freelancer with National Review Online,[1] saying this would be "in the best interest of the publication."

Middle East experts like Walid Phares, Tom Harb, and John Hajjar have since defended Smith, stating that Smith's reporting was accurate, his access was deep and that he was reporting what was "taboo" to publish [2].[3]


Education and Military Service

Smith graduated from the University of South Carolina (USC) in 1982 with a BA degree in history. He then served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantry leader, parachutist, and shipboard special weapons security and counterterrorism instructor. Following his service in the Corps in 1987, he served on a para-military SWAT team in the nuclear industry. Soon thereafter, he began his career as a journalist.


Smith has written for numerous publications, including USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, The New York Post, and the UK's The Guardian. In 1998, he co-authored a George magazine feature with John F. Kennedy Jr. (Smith interviewed Gen. William C. Westmoreland in Charleston, S.C. - Kennedy interviewed Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap in Vietnam). The interviews were published together as a single piece on the Vietnam War in the November 1998 issue of George.

As a war correspondent, Smith reported from battlefields in both the Balkans in 1995 and in the Middle East in 1997, and he covered the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks from ground zero in New York. Also during the 1990s, he worked as a business magazine editor, a contract media relations director, a publicist for NBA basketball player Vince Carter and other professional athletes, and was the sole columnist for head football coach Lou Holtz's official website during Holtz's inaugural season at USC.

Smith's first book, Encyclopedia of the Central Intelligence Agency, was published in 2003. He has since written five other books.

Smith has been a guest commentator on the Fox News Channel, E! Entertainment's True Hollywood Story, and Bill Bennett's Morning in America. He has also been interviewed by numerous national publications (including Woman's Day, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and others); NBC, CBS, and ABC television affiliates; and he is a frequent guest on nationally syndicated radio programs, National Public Radio (NPR), and international radio, including the BBC. His articles have been included numerous times in radio-host Rush Limbaugh's daily "stack of stuff."

Smith is a contributing writer for A Nation Changed, a book commemorating the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks (published by U.S. News & World Report). He is the technical editor and foreword writer for the second edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Iraq by Joseph Tragert, and he is the technical editor and "special afterword" writer for Contract Warriors by Fred Rosen.

He has served as adjunct professor at USC's College of Journalism and Mass Communications, and he has lectured groups and conferences from Fortune 500 companies to the U.S. Armed Forces.

A former correspondent for 'Agencia EFE' (the world's largest Spanish-language news wire), Smith currently writes a column, 'Beyond the DropZone', for - and is executive editor of - World Defense Review. He is a columnist for, and an erstwhile contributor to National Review Online. Some of his stories have been picked up by the Scripps Howard News wire. Others have been re-published by the U.S. Department of Defense. He also writes for Family Security Matters and is the director of their Counterterrorism Research Center.

Beirut Controversy

On September 25, 2007, Smith reported on National Review Online's The Tank blog that some 200-plus heavily armed Hezbollah militiamen were occupying a sprawling Hezbollah tent city close to the Lebanese parliament.[4] Four days later, he blogged that between 4,000 and 5,000 Hezbollah gunmen deployed to the Christian areas of Beirut in an unsettling show of force.[5] On October 20, Smith also blogged about having taken two Hezbollah banners, including a large one from a stonghold.[6]

Another journalist, Christopher Allbritton, replied to the post disputing a number of assertions claimed, and he highlighted that Smith and National Review had been vocal about inaccuracies in the Soldier in Iraq diaries by Scott Thomas Beauchamp that were published in The New Republic.[7] The New Republic later acknowledged that Beauchamp's diaries could not be authenticated and that they couldn't stand by those stories.[8]

Smith said that he should have placed a caveat on his reports as he had only witnessed a fraction of what he had reported in those two blog posts. NRO's editor apologized to readers and commenced an investigation into the blogging reports. The editor concluded the investigation with the following note to readers:

I apologize to all of our readers. We should have required Smith to clearly source all of his original reporting from Lebanon. Smith let himself become susceptible to spin by those taking him around Lebanon, so his reporting from there should be read with that knowledge. (We are attaching this note to all his Lebanon reporting.) This was an editing failure as much as it was a reporting failure. We let him down, and we let you down, and we’re taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, Editor, National Review Online, [9]

Kathryn Lopez also said that "Smith has, on his own, decided that he will no longer write for NRO. We respect his decision".[8][9]

Defending Smith's Lebanon blogging, Tom Harb, secretary general of the International Lebanese Committee for UN Security Council Resolution 1559, and John Hajjar, U.S. director for the World Council of the Cedars Revolution, wrote a piece for an online publication that lists W. Thomas Smith as a contributing editor, Family Security Matters, "American Mercenaries of Hezbollah.", stating that "Smith is a hero who had the courage to write about things which are taboo to write about in Lebanon". They alleged that the Western journalists in Beirut who attacked Smith are Israel-haters and supporters of terrorism who are "accredited" by Hezbollah.

Harb repeated his defense of Smith, and attacks against journalists who pointed out alleged fabrications in Smith's reporting, in his column for World Defense Review, an online publication for which Smith is a former editor and is also listed as a columnist.

In The Washington Times, Harb yet again repeated his defense of Smith, arguing that Smith's access was far deeper than that of other journalists, that his reports were in fact accurate, his predictions "on target," and that the attacks against him were "engineered by Hezbollah."[10] Harb did not provide any factual basis for his arguments defending Smith's accuracy in any of the three publications nor did he provide any factual basis for alleging a pro-Hezbollah bias among those journalists who brought Smith's alleged inaccuracies to light.

In January, counterterrorism expert Dr. Walid Phares, who along with Harb and W. Thomas Smith, is listed as a columnist for World Defense Review, said, "in the fall of 2007 Western-based media, friendly to Hezbollah, attacked an American journalist reporting from Beirut, W. Thomas Smith Jr., for daring to mention that Hezbollah has ever deployed forces in Beirut, while according to a Stratfor report, the organization is sending in not only regular militiamen, but special forces"[11].


  • Encyclopedia of the Central Intelligence Agency - NY, Facts On File, 2003 - ISBN 0-8160-4667-0
  • Alpha Bravo Delta Guide to Decisive 20th-Century American Battles (foreword by Brigadier General David L. Grange) - NY, Alpha-Penguin, 2003 - ISBN 1-59257-147-6
  • Alpha Bravo Delta Guide to American Airborne Forces (foreword by Colonel Jeffery Bearor) - NY, Alpha-Penguin, 2004 - ISBN 1-59257-166-2
  • Alpha Bravo Delta Guide to the Korean Conflict (foreword by Dr. C. Kenneth Quinones) - NY, Alpha-Penguin, 2004 - ISBN 1-59257-213-8
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pirates (co-authored with Gail Selinger) - NY, Alpha-Penguin, 2006
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Intelligent Design (co-authored with Christopher Carlisle) - Alpha Books, 2006 - ISBN 978-1592575558


  1. ^ "An Open Letter to NRO Readers". Retrieved 2007-12-07.  
  2. ^ "Syria's Jihadists and Hezbollah are two arms of one body". Retrieved 2008-01-16.  
  3. ^ "American Mercenaries of Hezbollah". Retrieved 2007-12-03.  
  4. ^ "Reporting from Lebanon". Retrieved 2008-01-04.  
  5. ^ "Hezbollah's Show of Force". Retrieved 2008-01-04.  
  6. ^ "CAPTURE THE FLAG!". Retrieved 2008-01-04.  
  7. ^ Andrew Sullivan. "NRO Was Told Smith Was "A Liar" On October 5". Retrieved 2008-01-04.  
  8. ^ a b Howard Kurtz. "New Republic Disavows Iraq Diarist's Reports". Retrieved 2008-01-04.  
  9. ^ a b "A Word to Our Readers". Retrieved 2008-01-04.  
  10. ^ Tom Harb (January 2008). "Hezbollah's dark hand". Washtington Times. Retrieved 2009-03-02.  
  11. ^ Tom Harb (December 2007). "'Smith is a hero'". World Defense Review. Retrieved 2009-03-02.  

External links

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address