Rome • A spokeswoman for the National Security Agency denied reports from a leading Italian news magazine that U.S. spies may have listened in on conversations from inside the Vatican leading up to the March conclave that elected Pope Francis.
The newsweekly Panorama had reported in its Oct. 31 editions that the NSA tapped phones in the Santa Marta guesthouse where cardinals stayed before the conclave, as well as the cell phones of several cardinals, including Jorge Bergoglio, who became Pope Francis. The Panorama article did not identify its sources.
Panorama said the Vatican calls were part of a wider sweep 46 million Italian phone calls in late 2012 and early 2013. Those related to the Vatican were reportedly categorized in one of four sections: leadership, financial system threats, foreign policy objectives and human rights issues.