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NSA-VATICAN (UPDATED) Oct-31-2013 (210 words) xxxi

Vatican not worried about possibility U.S. monitored its calls

By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican has no evidence its calls were monitored by the U.S. National Security Agency and, even if they were, "we have no concerns about it," the Vatican spokesman said.

Asked about the possibility that the NSA's electronic eavesdropping program had monitored Vatican calls, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told reporters Oct. 30: "We have no evidence of this."

The spokesman made his comments after the Italian newsweekly Panorama announced that its issue going on sale Oct. 31 would include a report that phone calls to and from the Vatican were among the 46 million calls in Italy allegedly monitored between Dec. 10, 2012, and Jan. 8, 2013.

The magazine said it also is possible the eavesdropping continued for months and included calls made on the eve of the conclave that elected Pope Francis in March.

The NSA said in a statement the eavesdropping claims were false.

The agency "does not target the Vatican," said a statement from the NSA Public Affairs Office dated Oct. 30 and sent to Catholic News Service in Washington Oct. 31. "Assertions that NSA has targeted the Vatican, published in Italy's Panorama magazine, are not true."

The magazine's story was prepared in the midst of growing European coverage and anger over the NSA's alleged call-monitoring program.

END


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