Report: NSA Listened to Pope’s Calls, Spied on Vatican

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 30 2013 7:28 PM

Report: NSA Listened to Pope’s Calls, Spied on Vatican

163598609
Black smoke billows from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The papal conclave is a much anticipated event for Catholics around the world. Devotees can wait for days in all types of weather to witness the white smoke billowing from the Sistine Chapel, indicating a new Pope has been chosen. During the selection process, speculation is rampant as the world looks for any indication of how the church’s cardinals might lean. The NSA, however, according to the Italian magazine Panorama, may have already had the inside scoop, because it had tapped the Vatican’s phones.

Panorama, according to the Independent, “says US secret services monitored the phone calls of Pope Benedict XVI, as well as those of his successor Francis I. NSA staff listened in on cardinals before the conclave to elect the Pope in March this year, it says.” The magazine claims, as Reuters reports, that the NSA’s cataloguing of Vatican phone calls was divided into four categories: “leadership intentions, threats to the financial system, foreign policy objectives and human rights.”

Advertisement

Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, told Reuters: "We are not aware of anything on this issue and in any case we have no concerns about it."

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Naomi Klein Is Wrong

Multinational corporations are doing more than governments to halt climate change.

The Strange History of Wives Gazing at Their Husbands in Political Ads

Television

See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 1:38 PM Mad About Modi
 Why the controversial Indian prime minister drew 19,000 cheering fans to Madison Square Garden.

  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 30 2014 11:42 AM Listen to Our September Music Roundup Hot tracks from a cooler month, exclusively for Slate Plus members.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 12:42 PM How to Save Broken Mayonnaise
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 11:55 AM The Justice Department Is Cracking Down on Sales of Spyware Used in Stalking
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.