Vatican ‘not bothered’ by bugging story

The Vatican has shrugged off last week’s reports that America’s National Security Agency spied on cardinals during the most recent conclave.

In a statement on the issue, revealed in the pages on the Italian magazine, Panorama, spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi of the Holy See press office said: "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.”

According to Panorama, in addition to tapping into some 46 million calls in Italy, the US spying service also turned its technology to those cardinals gathered in Rome on March 12, apparently seeking inside knowledge on the successor to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The NSA, Panorama alleges, divided the bugged conversations according to leadership intentions, threats to financial systems, foreign policy objectives and human rights.

The magazine added that, according to documents made public by Wikileaks, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, has been “a person of interest to the American secret services since 2005”.