Would that more public figures would blow off idiotic federal no-talk rules applied for political reasons.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has deep-sixed a probe into whether Ted Cruz revealed classified information when, during a presidential debate, he discussed the government’s ability to monitor phone records.
“The committee is not investigating anything said during" a Republican presidential debate, top committee members have revealed.
Thus far, Cruz has suffered no political fallout among the electorate for his purported indiscretion on national television.
The Cruz campaign justifies breaking the federal gag order on grounds that it is absurd to stay silent about anything that has already been "widely reported." This view seems consistent with the perspective of the woman or man in the street, though the liberal news commentary organization MSNBC tried to make an issue of the technicality.
“There’s nothing that Senator Cruz said" during December's debate "that wasn’t widely reported and saturated in the public domain,” a campaign spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, told NBC News.
The intelligence committee's bipartisan brush-off of the "scandal" came after panel chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) said that his staff would look into whether Cruz violated a gag order on discussing NSA surveillance. The issue came up when GOP rival Marco Rubio (R-FL) implied that Cruz had violated a secret arrangement to refrain from public mention of certain matters.
“The old program covered 20 percent to 30 percent of phone numbers to search for terrorists; the new program covers nearly 100 percent,” Cruz said of the NSA's metadata surveillance system, adding that “that gives us greater ability to stop acts of terrorism."
Rubio began his response to Cruz by saying, “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.”
And, Rebecca Glover Watkins, a top spokeswoman for Chairman Burr, tweeted just after the exchange: "Cruz shouldn’t have said that."
But, as intelligence panel lawmakers understood, Cruz's judgment was to prove accurate: Federal gag orders based on technicalities get little respect from the voters.
Rubio has since dropped out of the race.