WASHINGTON – A Republican senator is investigating whether Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz released classified information while discussing the National Security Agency during Tuesday night’s debate.
“I’m having my staff look at the transcripts of the debate right now,” Sen. Richard Burr, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, told reporters, according to The Hill, a political website. “Any time you deal with numbers … the question is, ‘Is that classified or not?’ or is there an open source reference to it?”
The line in question was regarding the amount of telephone numbers covered by the NSA’s monitoring program after legislative changes were made earlier this year. Cruz, in an exchange with Sen. Marco Rubio during the debate of nine Republican presidential contenders, argued that the new version of the program covers “nearly 100 percent” of phone numbers to search for terrorists.
Cruz’s campaign dismissed the possibility that the senator from Texas had said anything out of line.
“There was nothing that Sen. Cruz said or talked about in the debate that was classified,” campaign spokesman Rick Tyler said. “Those figures have been widely reported and are saturated in the public domain.”
During the debate, Rubio appeared to raise concerns that Cruz’s remarks were classified.
“Let me be very careful when answering this, because I don’t think national television in front of 15 million people is the place to discuss classified information,” Rubio said.
Rubio is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Cruz is not, but being a member of the Senate gives him access to some classified information.
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