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U.S. security agency denies reports it targeted Vatican

A view of St Peter's Square as Pope Francis celebrates a mass in the Vatican October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
A view of St Peter's Square as Pope Francis celebrates a mass in the Vatican October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The National Security Agency, responsible for U.S. electronic eavesdropping, said on Wednesday that it does not target the Vatican, and called an Italian media report that it had done so "not true."

"The National Security Agency does not target the Vatican. Assertions that NSA has targeted the Vatican, published in Italy's Panorama magazine, are not true," agency spokeswoman Vanee Vines said in a statement.

Panorama magazine said on Wednesday that the NSA had eavesdropped on Vatican phone calls, possibly including when former Pope Benedict's successor was under discussion. The Holy See said it had no knowledge of any such activity.

(Reporting By Warren Strobel; editing by Jackie Frank)

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