November 2, 2011 | Press Release

FDD Welcomes Lee Smith and James Kirchick as Fellows

Washington, D.C. – The Foundation for Defense of Democracies proudly welcomes two new scholars to its ranks. Lee Smith, of the Weekly Standard, and James Kirchick, formerly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, have both joined FDD as fellows.

“Lee and Jamie are two of the most probing, incisive and insightful journalists covering the international scene today,” said FDD President Clifford D. May. “They will add important dimensions to FDD’s national security and foreign policy analysis.”

“We’re delighted to have Lee and Jamie join the FDD team,” added FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz. “They are eloquent defenders of human rights, courageous journalists, and astute analysts of complex political issues. They share FDD’s commitment to the defense of American security, its support for America’s allies, and to the defeat of regimes, ideologies and terrorist groups that threaten liberal democracy.”

Mr. Smith is a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, and author of The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations (Doubleday 2010). For close to a decade after the September 11th attacks, Smith lived in the Middle East, initially in Cairo, and later in Beirut and Jerusalem. He is now based in Washington, DC, where he writes a weekly column on U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East for Tablet Magazine. In addition to his work at FDD, Smith appears regularly on U.S. and international TV and radio programs, from Fox News, The Hannity Report, Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt to France 24 and Lebanon’s Future TV. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek,, the Boston Globe, and Wired, as well as Middle Eastern media outlets including Asharq al-Awsat, NOW Lebanon and Maariv.

Smith also sits on the board of editors of the Middle East Quarterly, where he contributes regularly. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and raised in New York City, he graduated from George Washington University. He later studied Arabic language and literature at the American University in Cairo and Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth.

James Kirchick is a journalist and foreign correspondent based in Prague. Before joining FDD he was writer-at-large for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, writing about the politics and cultures of the 21 countries in RFE/RL’s broadcast region. For over three years, Kirchick worked at The New Republic, covering domestic politics, intelligence, and American foreign policy. He remains a contributing editor for the magazine and his reportage has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The American Interest, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Columbia Journalism Review, Prospect and other magazines. He is a regular contributor of essays to both Commentary and World Affairs Journal. He writes frequently for newspapers including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal & Wall Street Journal Europe, the Los Angeles Times, and is a regular contributor to the English-language edition of Ha’aretz. Kirchick has also worked as a reporter for The New York Sun, the New York Daily News, and The Hill, and has been a columnist for the New York Daily News and the Washington Examiner.

To discuss the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ work, or schedule interviews with either Mr. Smith or Mr. Kirchick, please contact David Donadio at [email protected].

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies is a non-profit, non-partisan policy institute dedicated exclusively to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism. Founded shortly after the attacks of 9/11, FDD combines policy research, democracy and counterterrorism education, strategic communications, and investigative journalism in support of its mission. For more information, please visit