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Italian magazine reports U.S. tapped Vatican, pope phone calls

An Italian magazine reports that U.S. spies listened in on phone calls at the Vatican, but a spokesman for the Holy See said church officials were unaware and have no concerns.

Panorama magazine said that among 46 million phone calls followed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in Italy from Dec. 10, 2012, to Jan. 8, 2013, were conversations in and out of the Vatican,” Reuters reported Wednesday.

According to the Telegraph in Britain, the spying allegations follow a report on surveillance website Cryptome, which reported the same number of intercepted calls within the same dates.

“Panorama also says there are suspicions that the conversations of the Pope were even monitored before he was elected,” the National Catholic Register reported. “The magazine refers to the Wikileaks files which, it says, revealed that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio had been under surveillance since 2005.”

Reuters noted that the magazine cited no source for its information.

According to the NCR, the incoming and outgoing calls from the Vatican were classified into four categories: “leadership intentions,” “threats to the financial system,” “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights.”

But the director of the Vatican press office has told reporters that it has no worries, Catholic Culture reported.

“We don’t know anything about this, and in any case we don’t have any concerns about it,” said Father Federico Lombardi, in a statement quoted by the Huffington Post.

Twitter: @deseretbrown