Media Watch

U.S. Officials Eavesdropped on Pope

TIMES OF LONDON, Feb. 29 — Pope John Paul II's private communications were intercepted by a global “eavesdropping” system run by the U.S. National Security Agency, according to former intelligence officials cited by the London newspaper.

“Overseas targets have even included the Vatican,” the British paper said Feb. 27. According to the report, messages sent by the Pope and Mother Theresa of Calcutta have been intercepted, read and passed on to British intelligence officers.

The allegations follow the publication of a European Parliament report Feb. 23 on a U.S.-led communications monitoring network, said to intercept and process up to 2 billion messages a day, including telephone calls, fax transmissions and private e-mails.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls declined to comment on the allegations Feb. 29, but noted that judicial investigators in Rome have launched an inquiry into the matter.