Did the US snoop on the Vatican before the conclave?
posted at 11:38 am on October 30, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
I’d caution people about taking the Italian magazine Panorama too seriously, but if this is true, then Barack Obama may have bigger problems than Angela Merkel’s sense of outrage:
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.
Fr. Federico Lombardi dismissed the report this morning, telling the media that the Vatican isn’t “worried about it.” That’s probably due to the rather fantastical and apparently unverified claim, but it’s also because they’re probably mystified as to why the US would be interested in their discussions. My skepticism level is … high.
If it is true (and that is a mighty big if), that would be a question Americans should ask. Perhaps the intel community has too many resources available to it for its own good if they’re spending them listening to the cardinals rather than looking for terrorists and national-security threats.
Update: We’ve found the mole!