Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, released a short statement addressing an article published on Italian magazine ‘Panorama’ that claims the US National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted calls from the Vatican.
The report claimed that the NSA infiltrated calls in Italy from December 2012 to January 8th, 2013, as well as from the Vatican. The article also stated that calls were infiltrated on March 12, 2013 during the Conclave that elected Pope Francis.
The ‘Panorama’ article said that intercepted calls from the Vatican were classified into four categories, including “leadership intentions, threats to financial systems, foreign policy objectives, and human rights.” The article states that the NSA may have monitored calls relating to the appointment of Ernst Von Freyburg as president of the Vatican’s Institute for Religious Works (IOR).
Fr. Ciro Benedettini, co-director of the Holy See Press Office, read a statement to journalists from Fr. Lombardi addressing the rumor. “My response regarding the article on Panorama on the alleged wiretapping is that we don’t know anything about this matter and in any case, we have no worries about it,” Fr. Lombardi’s statement read.
Several European countries have expressed grave concerns after it was revealed that the U.S. intelligence agencies have intercepted millions of phone calls, including those of several heads of State. The news was revealed by leaks provided by former NSA agent, Edward Snowden who received asylum in Russia.
German chancellor Angela Merkel expressed outrage over reports that her phone was intercepted by the NSA. “I repeat that spying among friends is not at all acceptable against anyone, and that goes for every citizen in Germany,” she said during a two-day summit in Brussels last week.