The NSA says it didn’t target the Pope. Rand Paul still has questions.

October 31, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul  (R-Ky.) (AP Photo/The Messenger-Inquirer, Gary Emord-Netzley)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is really worried the NSA might be spying on the pope -- so worried, he introduced a resolution Thursday "expressing the sense of the United States Senate that President Obama should issue a statement regarding spying on His Holiness, Pope Francis."

The resolution calls on Obama to "directly address the serious allegation whether his administration monitored the calls of Pope Francis or the conclave selecting the Pope." Wednesday Italy's Panorama magazine reported that the NSA had eavesdropped on 46 million Italian phone calls between December 2012 and January 2013 -- including some to and from residence where papal candidates stayed before the conclave. It also suggested that the NSA's activities included interception of communication going in and out of the Vatican.

However, an NSA spokesperson denied the allegations, telling the LA Times via e-mail, "The National Security Agency does not target the Vatican," adding, "assertions that NSA has targeted the Vatican, published in Italy’s Panorama magazine, are not true."

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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