Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announces his presidential campaign March 23 at Liberty University in Virginia with his wife, Heidi, and two daughters

NEW YORK – With Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, setting his sights on the Oval Office, some of his critics are once again confronting him with the issue of his wife’s former membership in the Council on Foreign Relations and her role in the crafting of a CFR document espousing North American unity.

The national spokesman for Cruz’s presidential campaign, Rick Tyler, emphasized in a response to WND that the senator has never been a member of CFR and harshly criticized the organization during his 2012 U.S. Senate campaign as a threat to U.S. sovereignty, even though his wife was a member at the time.

Tyler noted that at a campaign event in Tyler, Texas, in 2011, Cruz called CFR “a pernicious nest of snakes” that is “working to undermine our sovereignty.”

Tyler explained that Heidi Cruz, then an energy investment banker for Merrill Lynch in Houston, served as a CFR term member.

Her term expired in 2011, Tyler said, and she was one of 31 members assigned to the task force that produced the “Building a North American Community” report.

“Her contribution to the report was narrowly focused on economic issues,” Tyler told WND. “She said as much in her dissenting view included in the report.”

The 2005 report by the Task Force on the Future of North America was co-authored by task force vice chairman Robert A. Pastor, then the director of the Center for North American Studies at American University in Washington, D.C.

In the 2007 bestselling book “The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada,” Pastor was dubbed “the father of the North American Union” for the influence the CFR report had on a tripartite summit meeting between the heads of state of the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The meeting culminated in President George W. Bush declaring without congressional approval the formation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

On the CFR website, Heidi Cruz is listed as one of 31 members of the Task Force on the Future of North America.

The CFR website further specifies she served in the George W. Bush White House under Condoleezza Rice as the economic director for the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council. She previously served as the director of the Latin America office at the U.S. Treasury Department and as special assistant to Ambassador Robert B. Zoellick, U.S. trade representative.

Prior to government service, Heidi Cruz was an investment banker with J.P. Morgan in New York City.

She is not listed as a member in the current Council of Foreign Relations roster.

On pages 33-34 of CFR’s “Building a North American Community,” Heidi Cruz wrote a paragraph included under “Additional and Dissenting Views” that contended economic investment must be led by the private sector rather than government:

I support the Task Force report and its recommendations aimed at building a safer and more prosperous North America. Economic prosperity and a world safe from terrorism and other security threats are no doubt inextricably linked. While governments play an invaluable role in both regards, we must emphasize the imperative that economic investment be led and perpetuated by the private sector. There is no force proven like the market for aligning incentives, sourcing capital, and producing results like financial markets and profit-making businesses. This is simply necessary to sustain a higher living standard for the poorest among us – truly the measure of our success. As such, investment funds and financing mechanisms should be deemed attractive instruments by those committing the capital and should only be developed in conjunction with market participants.

The paragraph did not address the newly formed SPP, which was enthusiastically endorsed in the first two pages of the CFR report.

The CFR report’s introduction went on to say that the task force “is pleased to provide specific advice on how the partnership can be pursued and realized,” noting the SPP “established ministerial-level working groups to address key security and economic issues facing North America and setting a short deadline for reporting back to their governments.”

In numerous articles published at the time, WND reported the developing SPP and Pastor’s vision of a “North American Community” comprised of the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Critics of the plan have pointed out the European Union began as a free-trade agreement, much as the SPP was a further development of NAFTA. In Europe, internationalist thinkers such as Jean Monnet helped develop the 1958 European Coal and Steel Agreement into a predecessor of the European Union, which operates today as a supranational regional government.

‘A pit of vipers’

Tyler referred WND to a Ben Smith article in Politico titled “A pit of vipers; also, his wife,” which reported the Tyler, Texas, Senate campaign event Oct. 15, 2011, in which Cruz called the CFR “a pernicious nest of snakes” that is “working to undermine our sovereignty.

Politico confirmed with an unnamed CFR official that Heidi Cruz was an active CFR member at the time under a five-year “term membership.”

The Politico article published a YouTube video of the event in which Cruz can be heard drawing applause to his comments attacking CFR.

“I’ve spent a lifetime fighting to defend our sovereignty and I think that’s exactly what we ought to do,” Cruz declared.

See the remarks by Cruz:

In a video interview with independent journalist Derrick Broze in 2011, Cruz responded to “the opponents in this race who have taken to attacking my wife.”

He pointed out she was one among thousands of term members of the CFR for a brief period, joining it “as one of the few conservatives” after stepping down from the Bush administration, “trying to push for conservative outcomes.”

He mentioned former U.N. ambassador John Bolton is a member.

Cruz said the “attack” by his opponents, chiefly then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, suggested he would be “less than a full-throated defender of U.S. sovereignty.”

Dewhurst’s objective, Cruz insisted, was to divide conservative and tea party voters.

Cruz said the irony is that he was the only candidate who had stood up against the U.N. and defended U.S. sovereignty.

The biggest case of his tenure was Medellin v. Texas in 2008, he said, emphasizing he opposed President George W. Bush.

See the interview with Cruz:

“I went before the Supreme Court and said no president has the constitutional authority to give away U.S. sovereignty,” Cruz said.

In the case, the Bush administration supported a U.N. International Court of Justice ruling in 2008 that 51 Mexican illegal immigrants on death row in Texas had been deprived of rights because they were not allowed to seek assistance or advice from the Mexican consulate after they were arrested.

As WND reported in July 2008, the order from the U.N. court arrived only weeks before Texas administered a scheduled lethal injection of Jose Medellin, a Mexican national convicted of gang raping and murdering two girls in Texas.

Cruz spokesman Tyler said Cruz “fought and won a landmark ruling for U.S. sovereignty” against  “90 foreign nations and the president of the United States to ensure the supremacy of U.S. legal system against encroachment by international treaties and rulings of a World Court.”

In a 6-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court determined the decisions of the International Court of Justice were not binding in U.S. courts. The justices said the president of the United States had no authority to impose U.N. court decisions to reverse or otherwise amend decisions reached by a duly constituted and administered Texas state criminal court.

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