- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida called out Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas by name Monday on the issue of U.S. intelligence gathering and also offered unnamed criticism of Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on the issue.

“At least two of my colleagues in the Senate aspiring to the presidency, Sen. Cruz in particular, have voted to weaken the U.S. intelligence programs,” Mr. Rubio said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual meeting. “And the weakening of our intelligence-gathering capabilities leaves America vulnerable.”

The U.S. Senate voted earlier this year to rewrite the sweeping post-9/11 Patriot Act and end the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ data. Mr. Rubio voted against the measure, and Mr. Cruz voted for it.

Mr. Paul also voted no, but said he wanted the measure to go even further. All three are contending for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Cruz campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said in response: “Does Sen. Rubio attribute the same attack to Senators Scott, Ayotte and Grassley who also voted for it?”

That’s a reference to GOP Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa.

“Cruz is a proud supporter of the bill, which champions both the protection of our privacy rights and Americans’ national security interests,” Ms. Frazier said.

A Paul campaign spokesman declined to comment.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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