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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NSA spied on the future Pope Francis before and during the Vatican conclave

Pope Francis delivering a speech during a meeting of the world's cardinals

The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the clerical residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff.

 
The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, held in the Sistine Chapel.
The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories – “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.
The allegations follow a report on surveillance website Cryptome which said the United States intercepted 46 million telephone calls in Italy between Dec 10 2012 and Jan 8 January 2013.
At the time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy, which came to an end when he announced his historic resignation from the Seat of St Peter.

"It is feared that the great American ear continued to tap prelates' conversations up to the eve of the conclave on March 12 2013," the weekly magazine said, adding that there were "suspicions that the conversations of the future Pope may have been monitored".
Archbishop Bergoglio "had been a person of interest to the American secret services since 2005, according to Wikileaks," it said.

The US agency also spied on telephone calls among senior Vatican figures relating to the selection of a new head of the scandal-ridden Vatican bank, Panorama said.
Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, said "we have heard nothing of this and are not worried about it."

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