NSA Spied on Vatican as Pope Was Chosen: Report

Church 'not worried' about Italian magazine piece
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2013 1:07 AM CDT
Updated Oct 31, 2013 7:25 AM CDT
NSA Spied on Vatican as Pope Was Chosen: Report
Pope Francis speaks during the Marian prayer in St. Peter's square at the Vatican, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

Among the NSA's apparently unending surveillance targets, according to an Italian magazine report, was one Jorge Mario Bergoglio—the current Pope Francis. Panorama says Bergoglio and other cardinals were subjects of US spying ahead of the conclave that made him pope, AFP notes. "It is feared that the great American ear continued to tap prelates' conversations up to the eve of the conclave," says the magazine. An earlier report at the website Cryptome says the US tapped 46 million phone calls in Italy between December and January, before Pope Benedict's resignation; the US was "apparently" spying on the Vatican then, too, the report holds.

Panorama notes "suspicions that the conversations of the future pope may have been monitored"; it says Vatican information was divided into "leadership intentions," "threats to financial systems," "foreign policy objectives," and "human rights." The Telegraph, however, points out that the magazine doesn't cite "hard evidence or quoted sources." WikiLeaks documents showed Bergoglio had been a person of interest for US intelligence since 2005, Panorama reports. A Vatican spokesman's reaction to the magazine report: "We have heard nothing of this and are not worried about it." (Read more Vatican stories.)

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