NSA Spying on the Vatican?

A report in an Italian news outlet alleges that the NSA has been targeting the Vatican for surveillance, listening in on conversations involving cardinals and archbishops. The NSA denies the report, but then they would deny it, wouldn’t they?

An Italian magazine is reporting that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on internal communications at the Vatican and phone calls at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the church residence where cardinals lived during the papal conclave and the pope’s current home.

The weekly magazine, Panorama, reports in an issue that hits the streets on Thursday that the NSA labeled calls in and out of Vatican offices as “leadership intentions,” “threats to the financial system,” “foreign policy objectives,” and “human rights.” It says calls regarding this year’s election of the new president of the Vatican Bank, Ernst von Freyberg, were also intercepted…

The NSA has also denied the magazine’s accusations.

“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,” Vanee Vines, an NSA spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Well I guess that settles it. I mean, the NSA wouldn’t lie to us, would they?

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  • Alverant

    I can understand spying on the Vatican what with how they are sheltering pedoes and such. It’s certainly warranted.

  • anubisprime

    If the NSA have ‘evidence’ that several or more Cardinals, Bishops, RCC uncle tom cobbly’s and all are, were diddling kiddies and there are instructions to move hide perps or stonewall secular authorities and they gleaned that from taps or other clandestine means…are they liable to prosecution if they do not report the discovered abuse and any ‘cover up’ conversations they might overhear to cops?

    Not saying they have ‘discovered’ such conversations, but it might be interesting implosions all around if they had and they said nothing!

  • It’s great to see the NSA dong something right for a change! the Vatican is a political entity currently run by a fascist-collaborator, which has used its considerable influence to aid in the houding and persecution of its critics, to enforce policies that directly result in the deaths of innocent women, and to shelter child-rapists. Their policies put them very close to our current Main Enemy the Taliban; so it’s perfectly appropriate for the NSA to treat them accordingly.

    But hey, if the Vatican are in a mood to complain about it, maybe we should add a drone strike or two, maybe to take out Cardinal Law, just sayin’, that’ll REALLY give them something to cry about.

  • Doug Little

    Well shit, since the pope is in direct communication with god and god has lifted his hand of protection from America because of Teh Gay it only makes sense that the NSA would want to listen in. Maybe they get lucky and god drops a hint to what his next act of terrorism will be against the American people.

  • Well I guess that settles it. I mean, the NSA wouldn’t lie to us, would they?

    So who has the bigger track record of lying — the NSA or the Catholic Church?

  • matty1

    It may be true, they don’t target the Vatican in the sense of singling them out. They just bug everyone.

  • bbgunn

    I suspect the pope has already heard the NSA’s confession and has absolved them…after 3 Our Fathers, 3 Hail Marys and an Act of Contrition (and a nice tithing to keep things in the confessional).

  • lldayo

    Shouldn’t God have warned the Pope or something about this? I thought they talked to each other…or is that all just bs?

  • laurentweppe

    Their policies put them very close to our current Main Enemy the Taliban

    If you’re not afghani yet think that your main ennemy is the Taliban, you may have problem.

  • sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    If the NSA didn’t eavesdrop on the Vatican it can only be because they think the Vatican too unimportant to be worth listening to- surely even more insulting than listening to them.

  • anubisprime, I would imagine there would be a number of legal issues around the admissibility of NSA wiretaps in a trial of child abusing priests. In any case the NSA could defend itself by arguing that revealing the details of such conversations would be a threat to national security, since their public revelation might provide details of the means and assets used by the NSA in its work.

  • The Vatican controls staggering wealth, and does so with far less transparency and regulation that other banks are subject to. I’m pretty sure NSA is eavesdropping on behalf of American finance.

  • greg1466

    Well in the case of the Vatican, I think you could actually make a case of it being in support of a criminal investigation.

  • So how many pedophilia scandals have they covered up?

  • “So who has the bigger track record of lying — the NSA or the Catholic Church?”.

    Who cares? The important question is; which is more important, temporal national security or your eternal IMMORTAL SOUL!!?

    “NSA Spying on the Vatican?”

    Why don’t they just download their porn off of the internet like the rest of u—, er, uhm, the people who do that sort of thing?

  • macallan

    I can understand spying on the Vatican what with how they are sheltering pedoes and such. It’s certainly warranted.

    They might be more interested in what’s going on at the vatican bank. It’s not like they don’t have a history which warrants all sorts of attention.

  • Yeah, I doubt the NSA cares about the pedophile scandals. Unless of course some arm of US intelligence can use them to blackmail someone into doing their bidding.

  • robnyny

    Spying on child rapists and not doing anything to stop it? That is the real disgrace.

  • dingojack

    I accuse the NSA of bugging the cupcakes at my local Country Womens’ Association Branch, no doubt he NSA will deny it which means it must be trrue.



  • The pope is infallible after all – he must be an extraordinarily valuable source of intelligence! 😛

  • doublereed

    I hear the vatican has technology that can turn a cracker into God.

  • sqlrob

    DingoJack @19:

    Are your cupcakes a nation-state?

  • Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC)

    I was wondering why on earth they’d bother spying on the Vatican (they may be a threat to civil liberties and happiness everywhere, but they’re hardly a threat to the USA as a country, are they?) and the only thing I can come up with is for inside info on the Vatican Bank.

  • sqlrob

    Thumper @23:

    I was wondering why on earth they’d bother spying on the Vatican

    They’re a country. I’d be surprised if any country wasn’t under surveillance.

  • eric

    How is this even news? Spying on foreign states is what the NSA and CIA are intended to do. Its pretty much what every espionage agency in every country is intended to do. The latest NSA scandals are newsworthy because they involve using unconstitutional techniques on Americans. But this thing with the Vatican seems to me to be SOP. It doesn’t have any of the legal or ethical problems associated with the latest scandals.

  • I’m all kinds of ambivalent. I was kinda hoping this would be about the NSA was spying to expose more child rape coverups and such, but as has been said, that’s outside their mission statement. Regarding the Vatican’s wealth, yeah, I imagine there’s plenty of funny business there, but I doubt the NSA is interested in the same types I would be. To top it off, I’m ambivalent about the significance of this, since they pretty much spy on everyone, and the Vatican is probably just one more organization to them.

  • eoleen

    Well, lets see…

    Post WWII there was the infamous “vatican rat line” that smuggled lots of money as well as the likes of Eichmann, et al to Argentina…

    There are the Cardinals, bishops, monseigniors, as well as plain old parish priests engaged in the truly massive cover-up of the pedophiles in many countries.

    There are the massive investments in commercial real estate that provide a whole lot of tax-free income to the Church – properties and other investments that can not, by any stretch of the imagination, be regarded as religious in nature.

    There is the massive money laundering scandal of which the Vatican bank is the center.

    I wouldn’t put it past the Church to use it’s facilities to expedite espionage.

    This should make it a proper target for the NSA.