Senate

GOP chair probes if Cruz unveiled classified info during debate

A key Senate Republican is looking into whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) discussed classified information during Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate.

{mosads}”I’m having my staff look at the transcripts of the debate right now,” Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, told reporters. “Any time you deal with numbers … the question is, ‘Is that classified or not?’ Or is there an open source reference to it?”

Cruz raised eyebrows during an exchange with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) over the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, when he said that the old program covered “20 or 30 percent of phone numbers” while the new program covers roughly 100 percent.

Becca Glover Watkins, Burr’s communications director, suggested on social media that Cruz might have said something he shouldn’t have, though she didn’t specifically reference his comments. 

Burr added on Wednesday that while he hadn’t heard Cruz’s comments, “the question had been raised, therefore I asked them to look at it.”
 
He suggested that his staff would need to search through media reports to see if the numbers had been reported independently before.
 
The North Carolina senator didn’t specify what — if any — consequences Cruz could face if his staff determines that the Texas Republican did discuss classified information.
 
“I would be a lot more worried if he was in fact a member of the committee, but to my understanding this subject matter was not one where any members outside of the committee had been briefed on it,” he said. 
 
Cruz’s campaign suggested that the Texas Republican didn’t discuss anything that hasn’t been widely reported, including in a 2014 Washington Post article. 
 
The Post reported that the NSA “is collecting less than 30 percent of all Americans’ call records.” 
 
This story was last updated at 3:36 p.m.
Tags Marco Rubio Richard Burr Ted Cruz

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