Cruz defends mosque spying: 'Constitution is not a suicide pact'
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Republican White House hopeful Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea GOP state lawmakers meet to plan possible constitutional convention MORE justified surveilling mosques when investigating specific terror threats during an interview Tuesday night, commenting that “the Constitution is not a suicide pact.”

“You can protect civil liberties, but there is ample authority if there is evidence that someone is planning a terrorist attack — that they are a jihadist,” the Texas senator said after the GOP presidential debate in an interview with Sirius XM’s David Webb and Stephen K. Bannon.

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“The Constitution is not a suicide pact, as the Supreme Court has said.”

Cruz, a Harvard Law School graduate and former Supreme Court clerk, compared the situation to people planning a bank robbery in a church.

“The federal government can go and apprehend us in the church and they can monitor us if we are carrying out criminal conduct,” he said. “And the way the Fourth Amendment works, the Bill of Rights work, is you have particularized evidence of criminal conduct and you target the terrorist and not the law-abiding citizens.”

Many GOP presidential candidates have supported calls to increase surveillance in mosques, kicked off by Donald Trump’s support of that policy. But some appear to have been referring to broader spying, not surveillance with individual warrants. 

Cruz repeatedly sparred with Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) during CNN’s Tuesday debate over national security and surveillance powers of the government.