US spied on the Vatican in run-up to choosing the new pope

The US National Security Agency allegedly eavesdropped on cardinals before the conclave in March to elect a new pope, Italian weekly magazine Panorama claimed on Wednesday.

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

The allegations follow a report on surveillance website, Cryptome, which said the US intercepted 46 million telephone calls in Italy in December last year and early January this year…

“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.

The Vatican says they’re not worried about NSA bugging their phone calls. They didn’t make it clear whether that was because they think their conversations are boring – or because God is on their side.

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