Ted Cruz: CIA Spying on Congress Fits the Pattern of Obama’s Abuses of Power

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 11 2014 2:58 PM

Ted Cruz: CIA Spying on Congress Fits the Pattern of Obama’s Abuses of Power

186206253-sen-ted-cruz-speaks-during-a-senate-judiciary-committee
Alleged CIA spying on Congress reminds Ted Cruz of the State of the Union address.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Dianne Feinstein's claim that the CIA spied on Intelligence Committee computers, made in a careful but impassioned 40-minute floor speech, has rattled the city around her. The responses to leak and spying stories since 2010 have been iterative—the WikiLeaks revelations produced no legislation, while the Snowen revelations have started a churn of bills but no sure vote-winner. Feinstein's story has changed the discussion.

Well, it hasn't changed everything. Talking to reporters after Senate lunches, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz folded the Feinstein allegation into a narrative of Obama administration abuses and Democratic acquiescence.

"If it is correct that the CIA breached the security of Senate computers, that is a very serious allegation," said Cruz. "I would note, it is consistent with a pattern of the Obama administration, of disregarding the constitutional liberties of the citizenry and disrespecting the constitutional role of the United States Congress. And I would say that protecting the institutional authority of the U.S. Congress is not helped, when during the State of the Union, President Obama says, 'If Congress won't act, I will,' and virtually every Democrat in Congress stands and cheers." 

Advertisement

Cruz went on to pine for "the lions of the Senate, the Robert Byrds, the Ted Kennedys," and ask why so few Democrats criticized their administration. But not far away, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden was reading carefully from yellow note cards, on which he was starting to write a full statement about the Feinstein accusations. Wyden's often in this position—he can only reveal so much of what he knows without blasting out classified information. All he could say, really, was that he'd tried to get the CIA on the record about this before.

"I asked Mr. Brennan, director of the CIA, whether the computer fraud law applied to the CIA. He had no answer for me."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.