Cruz defends mosque spying: 'Constitution is not a suicide pact'
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Republican White House hopeful Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Trump has had a rough October Hillicon Valley: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship Lawmakers condemn Apple, Activision Blizzard over censorship of Hong Kong protesters 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.

“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.