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

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Books
Sept. 17 2014 10:36 AM MacArthur Fellow Alison Bechdel Recounts Telling Her Mother About Her Best-Selling Memoir MacArthur Fellow Alison Bechdel recounts telling her mother about her best-selling memoir.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Behold
Sept. 17 2014 11:06 AM Inside the Exclusive World of Members-Only Clubs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 11:14 AM How Does That Geometry Problem Make You Feel? Computer tutors that can read students’ emotions.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.