The National Security Agency, responsible for U.S. electronic eavesdropping, said on Wednesday that it does not target the Vatican, and called an Italian media report that it had done so "not true."
"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 spokeswoman Vanee Vines said in a statement.
Panorama magazine said on Wednesday that the NSA had eavesdropped on Vatican phone calls, possibly including when former Pope Benedict's successor was under discussion. The Holy See said it had no knowledge of any such activity.
The London Telegraph reported that the spy agency was listening to phone calls made during the papal conclave, including calls made "to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave" in March of this year.
The information — reported the newspaper — was categorized under four elements: "leadership intentions", “threats to financial system," "foreign policy objectives." and "human rights," said the newspaper.
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