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Popes under surveillance? U.S. accused of tapping Vatican

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A new report from Italy has accused the United States of wiretapping the future Pope Francis and eavesdropping on cardinals and other Catholic Church officials in the Vatican.

The Italian weekly magazine Panorama reported: "The National Security Agency wiretapped the pope," including the home of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio before he was elected to the position and took the name Pope Francis.

The allegation comes as the United States is fighting off accusations of wiretapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's private cellphone and of tapping into more than 60 million telephone calls in Spain in the course of one month.

The newest charges against the NSA came from the surveillance website Cryptome after it found that the United States intercepted 46 million phone calls in Italy between December 2012 and January 2013, Agence France-Presse reported.

Among those calls "are apparently also calls from and to the Vatican," Panorama reported. "It is feared that the great American ear continued to tap prelates' conversations up to the eve of the conclave ... [and there are] suspicions that the conversations of the future pope may have been monitored."

A spokesman for the Vatican said in Ynet News that "we have heard nothing of this and are not worried about it." And the NSA's spokesperson said that the agency doesn't target the Vatican and that the Italian report was "not true."

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