Western Europe

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NSA denies it spied on Vatican conclave

Written By: Michael Derlicki

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The United States National Security Agency has been accused of monitoring the phone calls during the conclave in which Pope Francis was elected.  The European countries are not happy with the actions of the NSA; as it already had to defend itself and apologize for allegedly tapping the personal phone of the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel.  The NSA’s integrity has been stained due to leaks provided by Edward Snowden. The former US intelligence agent, was granted asylum in Russia after suggesting and revealing that the NSA “conducted extensive spying on several European countries” such as Spain, France, Germany as well as Italy. The accusation of the NSA spying on the Vatican and other European countries has left a serious strain on the relationships between the US and its European allies and trade partner.  US officials in Washington have stated the importance of rebuilding a basis of trust after all of these allegations.

The allegations of the NSA spying were brought to light due to Cryptome, a website that gathers intelligence on surveillance and national security.  Results show that the “US intercepted 46 million telephone calls in Italy between Dec 10 2012 and Jan 8 2013.” Supposedly the monitoring of communication continued after Benedict’s resignation in February, while encompassing the entire election of Pope Francis.

Some sources say that there were “suspicions that the conversations of the future Pope may have been monitored” although no hard evidence or quotes have been provided due to the significance of the issue.

According to sources, as of 2005 US diplomats and intelligence agencies have been interested in some of the 16 possible candidates that were considered to be the future pope. Interests with unexplained reasons were shown toward Archbishop Bergoglio; who has been a solid member and a strong candidate. The US embassy to the Holy See created a profile of Archbishop Bergoglio describing him as “wise pastor” who has been praised for his“humility”; nothing further was disclosed.

It was also revealed that the NSA intercepted communications during the 2012 Vatileaks scandal. This scandal was caused by Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s personal butler stealing sensitive documents which exploited certain power struggles and alleged corruption within the Vatican.  The Vatican’s spokesman said “We have heard nothing of this and in any case we have no concerns about it.” While sources say that during this time the American embassy to the Holy See has made queries to the State Department in Washington.

The NSA has been trying to defend and explain their course of actions, after the surprising revealing of the issue. “The National Security Agency does not target the Vatican. Assertions that NSA has targeted the Vatican, published in Italy’s Panorama magazine, are not true.” agency spokesman Vanee Vines said in a statement.

Whether you believe in what the NSA has to say or not. In my opinion I strongly believe that the United States National Security Agency have abused their power; when it comes to trying to satisfy their so called interests toward the Vatican.

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This entry was posted on October 31, 2013 by in Italy.
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