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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio says Ted Cruz tried to 'weaken' NSA surveillance

Marco Rubio at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council on Nov. 16, 2015

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Marco Rubio at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council on Nov. 16, 2015

16

November

Marco Rubio took a shot at Ted Cruz on Monday night, saying his rival worked to "weaken" surveillance programs now back in focus given the attacks in Paris.

The salvo, which Rubio's campaign quickly put on YouTube, comes after Cruz spent several days last week casting Rubio as soft on immigration. Rubio was speaking at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council in Washington.

"We're vulnerable," Rubio said. "At least two of my colleagues in the Senate aspiring to the presidency, Senator Cruz in particular, have voted to weaken the U.S. intelligence programs ... and the weakening of our intelligence gathering capabilities leaves America vulnerable." Unnamed by Rubio is Sen. Rand Paul, a longtime critic of the NSA.

Rubio's campaign pointed to a vote on the USA Freedom Act in June. It allows for data collection but phone companies maintain it, not the NSA.

"Does Senator Rubio think Senators Scott, Ayotte, and Grassley also 'voted to weaken the U.S. intelligence programs?' " asked Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler.

[Last modified: Monday, November 16, 2015 9:40pm]

    

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