US secret service 'spied on Pope'
Even the Pope has been spied on by the NSA, according to claims in the Italian press.
The Panorama news magazine says US secret services monitored the phone calls of Pope Benedict XVI, as well as those of his successor Francis I. NSA staff listened in on cardinals before the conclave to elect the Pope in March this year, it says.
The magazine said: "It is feared that the great American ear continued to tap prelates' conversations up to the eve of the conclave on March 12, 2013."
It added that Archbishop Bergoglio, as he was called before he became Pope in March, "had been a person of interest to the American secret services since 2005, according to WikiLeaks". His election came after Benedict XVI resigned.
Panorama said the recorded Vatican conversations were among the 46 million phone calls followed by the NSA in Italy. The calls were apparently catalogued by the NSA in four categories – leadership intentions, threats to the financial system, foreign policy objectives and human rights.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that the NSA has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centres around the world.
It cited documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showing the NSA sending millions of records every day from Yahoo and Google internal networks to data warehouses at the agency's Maryland headquarters.
In the last 30 days, field collectors had processed and sent back more than 180 million new records – ranging from "metadata," which would indicate who sent or received emails and when, to content such as text, audio and video, the Post reported on its website.