A new report from Italian news magazine Panorama is the latest in a growing number of reports on the NSA targeting foreign officials. This time the target was the Vatican, and specifically the Saint Marta Guesthouse where cardinals were staying during the most recent papal conclave.
The eventual Pope Francis that came out of the conclave was reportedly targeted by the NSA as a “person of interest” as far back as 2005, and were tapping assorted targets at the site on the basis of “foreign policy objectives” right through to the selection of the pope, and potentially beyond.
The Vatican said they had no information on such surveillance and “don’t have any concerns about it,” though many other nations have had a much stronger reaction to the revelation of surveillance targeting them.
The NSA shrugged off the report as they have literally every other report on everything else they’ve done, insisting it is “not true” and that the NSA “does not target the Vatican.” Similar blanket denials have been the jumping off point for months of scandals, and usually are followed with more narrow denials and an eventually admission of guilt, along with a claim that the surveillance was legal.