CNN's Smerconish blasts 'epic intelligence failure' before Florida shooting

CNN host Michael Smerconish said Saturday that a mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school last week was the result of an "epic intelligence failure," arguing that 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz should never have been allowed to purchase a weapon.

In a monologue on his CNN program "Smerconish," the host accused law enforcement agencies of ignoring repeated warnings about Cruz's behavior in the months leading up to last week's shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

"Let me say it flat out: The Florida school shooting was an epic intelligence failure," Smerconish said. "It never should have happened. In this technological world of Apple and Google, Facebook and Amazon, better management of data by law enforcement needs to keep us safe from mass killings. And better integration of that which was in a variety of databases should have kept us safe from this guy."


The CNN host went on to note that a "staggering" amount of information has been uncovered that could have predicted the shooting.

"There was a staggering amount of seemingly searchable information that predicted his future path. Consider just some of the electronic breadcrumbs that he left behind," Smerconish said, noting that the Broward County Sheriff's office received 18 calls relating to Cruz over 10 years.

He went on to list a litany of evidence against Cruz, including 911 calls from members of the family that took the teenager in after his mother died and statements from others who warned that Cruz may attempt suicide in a school shooting situation.

"The protection of Americans of all ages demands better data management about those who pose a gun risk," Smerconish concluded. "We were a keystroke away from catching this guy. Instead, 17 are dead. It is time to work smarter, not harder."

The CNN host's comments follow reporting by The Wall Street Journal that the FBI was specifically warned that Cruz had the potential to become a school shooter just a month ago.

"You know, it’s just so much,” a woman told the FBI's tipline. "I know he’s — he’s going to explode," she said, adding that she made the call because she wanted to maintain a "clear conscience" if Cruz decided to carry out such an act, the Journal reported.