MAJOR UPDATE: Senators Burr and Feinstein have put out this statement:
BREAKING: Senate Intelligence Committee says it is not investigating comments made by Cruz during debate
— BNO News (@BNONews) December 16, 2015
Burr-Feinstein announcement: “The Committee is not investigating anything said during last night’s Republican Presidential debate.”
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) December 16, 2015
JUST IN: Stmt from Senate Intel Cmte: “The Committee is not investigating anything said during last night’s Republican Presidential debate.”
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) December 16, 2015
So, they changed their minds? Who knows.
THE HILL – A key Senate Republican is looking into if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) discussed classified information during Tuesday night’s Republican debate.
“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.”
The Texas Republican, who is running for president, 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.”
His suggested that his staff will need to search through media reports to see if the numbers had been reported independently before.
Republicans in the Senate would love nothing more than for this accusation to be true. The will tar and feather him.
What he said, though, seems so inconsequential to me. I can’t imagine it’s classified, but what do I know. I guess we’ll see what happens.
UPDATE: Wapo did report this in 2014:
In 2006, a senior U.S. official said, the NSA was collecting “closer to 100” percent of Americans’ phone records from a number of U.S. companies under a then-classified program, but as of last summer that share had plummeted to less than 30 percent.
The government is taking steps to restore the collection — which does not include the content of conversations — closer to previous levels.
Maybe that covers Cruz. It would seem so to me, especially with that last line I quoted. The steps they were taking in Feb, 2014 likely became the law that Cruz referenced.