Ever since Edward Snowden leaked the NSA’s practice of spying on U.S. citizens as well as its enemies and allies abroad, the world has grown increasingly skeptical of American survellience tactics. A new report from Italian magazine Panorama claims that the U.S. even spied on the Vatican leading up to its Conclave, or the event in which the church’s cardinals select a new pope.
“It is feared that the great American ear continued to tap prelates’ conversations up to the eve of the conclave,” the magazine’s article read.
The magazine also accuses the U.S. government of wiretapping the accommodations of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the man who would eventually become Pope Francis. “The National Security Agency wiretapped the pope,” the magazine claimed.
The NSA’s alleged wiretapping activities included monitoring over 46 million telephone calls in Italy during December 2012 and January 2013. Some of these phone calls, which were tracked via a report on the surveillance website Cryptome, included calls to and from the Vatican.
Despite the accusations, the Vatican does not seem concerned about the NSA’s alleged activities. “We have heard nothing of this and are not worried about it,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi commented.
Whether or not the NSA wiretapped the pope, and what information they may have gained from doing so, is still uncertain. Still the agency’s privacy invasion and spying has been reaching far beyond its scope of power recently.