Foreign Policy

Paul to Obama: Explain spying on pope

Anne Wernikoff

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has introduced a “sense of the Senate” resolution calling on President Obama to explain reports that the United States was spying on Pope Francis.

The resolution states that public reports indicate that the National Security Agency “monitored millions of phone calls” in Italy over the last year. It also says reports indicate that the NSA “monitored telephone calls made to and from a residence in Rome where then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave selecting Bergoglio, now known as His Holiness Pope Francis, to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.”

{mosads}It notes that the NSA has denied these allegations, but says nonetheless that “President Obama should directly address the serious allegation whether his administration monitored the calls of Pope Francis or the conclave selecting the Pope.”

In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Paul agreed that the NSA has denied allegations that it was spying on the Pope, but said that answer is not enough.

“The NSA also says collecting bulk data on Americans is not spying, so you have to parse their words, OK?” he said. “They’ve lost a lot of credibility.”

He said the NSA may have only collected phone data on the Pope, which the NSA says is not “spying” because it was not listening in on the Pope’s conversations.

“I think we need to know, were they monitoring his phone calls, were they collecting any records on the Pope, and I expect an answer from the president,” he said.

“This is so over the top that is has to stop.”

Tags Barack Obama Benedict XVI Obama Pope Francis Rand Paul
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