Thursday, October 31, 2013

NSA Spied on The Pope

Nick Squires reports for The Guardian:
The National Security Agency spied on the future Pope Francis before and during the Vatican conclave at which he was chosen to succeed Benedict XVI, it was claimed on Wednesday.

The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.

The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.

The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories — “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.


  1. With all these leaks, I'm starting to wonder if anyone trades on all this information cache.

  2. "the Pope? hah how many battalions has he got?"

  3. When you actually support the actually sanctity of human life (not the theocon/warvangelical version), the national security state takes notice.

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  5. Let me see if I can answer this Jeopardy question right: “leadership intentions” (global ascension), “threats to financial system” (Vatican Treasury), “foreign policy objectives” (The Holy Land) and “human rights” (South America's Right Wing counter insurgency activities included the Croatian led Diocese of Argentina). Clickty clickty clack.

  6. Feinstein debuts NSA “reform” bill that’s really about the status quo
    A battle is brewing in Congress between surveillance reformers and hawks.

    Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has been one of the most stalwart defenders of widespread NSA surveillance since leaks with information about the programs started seeping out nearly five months ago. Civil libertarians and reformers have been none too pleased with her rhetoric—and they're not going to get any happier after reading the bill she introduced today.

    The FISA Improvements Act has already attracted plenty of critics who view it as no improvement at all. In fact, they say, Feinstein's bill would make things much worse. It would actually enshrine the NSA "bulk data" collection programs into law and grant official Congressional approval to widespread surveillance programs that haven't ever received such affirmation before.

    Her bill comes on the heels of a competing bill introduced earlier this week that reformers say would be a real step in the right direction. It would outright ban some of the programs that Feinstein is vociferously defending. Dozens of politicians have now stated they're ready to end the controversial "bulk data" programs, including the NSA's practice of keeping a log of every phone call made in the United States. In the House of Representatives, 70 members signed on to a bill proffered by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the sponsor of the original Patriot Act, which would shut the programs down. A companion bill in the Senate has a dozen co-sponsors, as well.

    "I'd laugh if I weren't so offended," said Jennifer Granick, of the Center for Internet and Society, in an e-mailed comment about Feinstein's bill. "It legalizes the currently illegal bulk collection of phone records and its language—whether sloppily or intentionally, I don't know—encourages the NSA to conduct bulk collection of other kinds of records under 215, as well as content, without even the bill's purported 'safeguards.'"

    The "enhanced criminal penalties" for unauthorized access to data actually criminalizes anyone who accesses a computer "without authorization," noted Ruthann Robson, professor of Law at City University of New York. "While couched in protecting privacy and data, this provision would also further sanction and chill whistleblowers."