US ‘eavesdropped on Vatican in run-up to conclave’

papal-conclave

 

(AFP) –

 

Rome — US secret services allegedly eavesdropped on cardinals before the conclave in March to elect a new pope, Italian weekly magazine Panorama claimed Wednesday.

 

“The National Security Agency wiretapped the pope,” the magazine said, accusing the United States of listening in to telephone calls to and from the Vatican, including the accommodation housing cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio before he was elected Pope Francis.

 

The allegations follow a report on surveillance website Cryptome which said the United States intercepted 46 million telephone calls in Italy in December 2012 and early January 2013.

 

Among those, “there are apparently also calls from and to the Vatican,” Panorama said.

 

“It is feared that the great American ear continued to tap prelates’ conversations up to the eve of the conclave,” it said, adding that there were “suspicions that the conversations of the future pope may have been monitored”.

 

Bergoglio “had been a person of interest to the American secret services since 2005, according to Wikileaks,” it said.

 

The bugged conversations were divided into four categories: “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial systems”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights,” it claimed.

 

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said “we have heard nothing of this and are not worried about it.”

 

If true, the US spying would be an embarrassing blow to an institution famous for its secrecy.

 

The goings-on of the conclave are particularly clock-and-dagger, with a system installed in the Sistine chapel where the cardinals meet in order to scramble any mobile phone communications and excommunication for those who spill the beans.

 

 

 

NSA Denies Spying On The Vatican

 

Reuters  |  Posted: 10/30/2013 6:29 pm EDT

 

nsa spying vatican

(Updates with NSA denial, adds Washington dateline)

WASHINGTON/VATICAN CITY, Oct 30 (Reuters) – The National Security Agency, responsible for U.S. electronic eavesdropping, said on Wednesday that it does not target the Vatican and called an Italian media report that it had done so “not true.”

Panorama magazine said on Wednesday that the NSA had eavesdropped on Vatican phone calls, possibly including when former Pope Benedict’s successor was under discussion.

“The National Security Agency does not target the Vatican. Assertions that NSA has targeted the Vatican, published in Italy’s Panorama magazine, are not true,” NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said in a statement.

According to Panorama, which did not cite a source for its information, the NSA had monitored 46 million phone calls in Italy from Dec. 10, 2012, to Jan. 8, 2013, including conversations in and out of the Vatican.

In a press release before full publication on Thursday, Panorama said, “NSA had tapped the Pope.”

The Holy See said it had no knowledge of any such activity. Asked to comment on the report, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said: “We are not aware of anything on this issue and in any case we have no concerns about it.”

Media reports based on revelations from Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who has been granted asylum in Russia, have said the agency had spied on French citizens over the same period in December and January.

Last week, the German government appeared to confirm that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone had also been monitored by American spies. The issue has also caused Washington problems with Brazil and China.

Panorama said the recorded Vatican phone calls were catalogued by the NSA in four categories – leadership intentions, threats to the financial system, foreign policy objectives and human rights.

Benedict resigned on Feb. 28 this year and his successor, Pope Francis, was elected on March 13.

“It is feared” that calls were listened to up until the start of the conclave that elected Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, Panorama said.

The magazine said there was also a suspicion that the Rome residence where some cardinals lived before the conclave, including the future pope, was monitored. (Reporting by Steve Scherer and Warren Strobel; Editing by Philip Pullella, Angus MacSwan and Cynthia Osterman)

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency....

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency. The first use was in September 1966, replacing an older seal which was used briefly. For more information, see here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. October 31, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Because of the stupidity of the rest of the world the Americans have now begun to believe that some god has appointed them as custodians of the world’s conscience. They poke their noses into everyone else’s business, under the guise of protecting wrongdoings.
    There is no doubt that the Americans have access to very sophisticated technology, which enables this prying into everyone else’s matters.
    By the way it is said that all this technology has been developed by persons of Indian origin.
    It is not because they wish to right wrongs, but stems from a deep sense of internal mistrust and insecurity.
    America is in total internal chaos, and better wake up to clean up their own backyard before meddling all over the world.

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  2. October 31, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Reblogged this on The Iniquitous: Church Crimes.

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  3. November 11, 2013 at 9:53 am

    […] US ‘eavesdropped on Vatican in run-up to conclave’ (silentmaj.wordpress.com) […]

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