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Senators express concerns over Haspel's 'destruction of evidence'

Senators express concerns over Haspel's 'destruction of evidence'
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Multiple senators are expressing concerns over the extent to which President TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE's pick for CIA director was involved in destroying agency interrogation tapes during a controversial program under President George W. Bush. 

CNN reported Tuesday that senators on both sides of the aisle want to hear a fuller explanation of Gina Haspel’s role in the Bush administration’s torture program ahead of her hearing for consideration to be CIA chief. Specifically, they said, she must address questions about her role in the destruction of video tapes of interrogations at a “black site” in Thailand.

“That’s the issue I’m uncertain about. Destruction of evidence, particularly having been told not to do so, is hard to justify, in my opinion,” Sen. Angus KingAngus KingDC statehood bill picks up Senate holdout Senate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill Senate descends into hours-long fight over elections bill MORE (I-Maine) told CNN.

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Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMasks shed at White House; McConnell: 'Free at last' Senate GOP dismayed by vote to boot Cheney The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (R-Maine) told CNN that she’s "asked for some additional information" about Haspel’s connection to the tapes.

"That was one of the issues that we discussed at length, but I'm not going to preview the hearing," Collins said.

GOP Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFauci on Rand Paul: 'I just don't understand what the problem is with him' Buckingham Palace requests 'Trump Train' remove image of queen from bus The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (Ky.) has already announced his opposition to Haspel's nomination over her role in the "enhanced interrogation" program, saying she demonstrated "joyful glee at someone who is being tortured." 

"I find it just amazing that anyone would consider having this woman at the head of the CIA," Paul said last month. His opposition means Haspel faces a narrow path to confirmation.

Other Republicans, including Sens. John CornynJohn CornynGOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Police reform talks hit familiar stumbling block CNN asks Carol Baskin to comment on loose Texas tiger MORE (Texas) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrGOP senator urges Biden to withdraw support for COVID vaccine patent waiver Utah county GOP censures Romney over Trump impeachment vote Battle lines drawn over Biden's support for vaccine waivers MORE (N.C.), told CNN they don't expect Haspel's past to be an issue in her upcoming hearing.

Haspel is President Trump's pick to replace current CIA Director Mike PompeoMike PompeoUS Olympic Committee urges Congress not to boycott Games in China Pompeo on CIA recruitment: We can't risk national security to appease 'liberal, woke agenda' DNC gathers opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates MORE, who has been nominated to serve as the next secretary of State.

Haspel, who is currently the deputy director of the CIA, faced initial scrutiny after her nomination was announced due to her connection to the Bush administration's "enhanced interrogation" program, which is now widely regarded as torture.

In 2005, Haspel reportedly played a role in a decision to destroy videotapes documenting interrogations. The destruction of the tapes was ordered by Jose Rodriguez, then head of the agency’s clandestine service — but Haspel, at the time his chief of staff, was reportedly a strong advocate for the choice. 

The Justice Department investigated the destruction of the tapes, but no charges were filed.

Haspel’s confirmation hearing will likely take place next month.