17. THE CIA AND THE VATICAN
In a Mother Jones article, investigative journalist Martin A. Lee takes
on two of the world's most secretive and sensitive groups -- the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Vatican.
Lee charges that the CIA is using the Vatican as a source of foreign
intelligence and is attempting to influence the Vatican's foreign policy
through both overt and covert channels.
For centuries, the Vatican has been a prime target for foreign espionage.
One of the world's greatest repositories of raw intelligence, it is
a spy's gold mine. Ecclesiastical, political, and economic information
filters in every day from thousands of priests, bishops, and papal nuncios
who report regularly from every corner of the globe (and most importantly
for the CLA, from Eastern Bloc countries) to the office of the Papal
Secretariat. After World War II, the CIA reportedly created a special
unit in its counterintelligence section to tap and monitor development
within the Vatican.
Unbeknownst to most Catholics and many others, the Vatican, which carefully
maintains an apolitical image, not only has a foreign office and diplomatic
corps but also has a foreign policy. With Polish Communists embracing
Catholicism and Latin American Catholics embracing Communism, the U.S.
government and particularly the CIA have recently taken a much greater
interest in the Vatican.
In his article, Lee charges that since World War II, the CIA has:
-- Penetrated the American Section of one of the wealthiest and most
powerful Vatican orders, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM)
of which William Casey, director of the CIA, and Alexander Haig, former
Secretary of State, are members;
-- employed undercover operatives to lobby members of the Curia (the
Vatican government) and spy on liberal churchmen on the Pope's staff
who challenge the political assumptions of the U.S.;
-- collaborated with right-wing Catholic groups to counter the actions
of progressive clerics in Latin America;
-- supported factions within the church which were instrumental in
promoting and electing the current Pope, John Paul II, whose Polish
nationalism and anti-Communist credentials make him a perfect vehicle
for U.S. foreign policy.
The issues presented in this brief synopsis are only a small part of
a complex issue, one which has received minimal attention because of
the secrecy and sensitive associated with both the CIA and the Vatican.
MOTHER JONES, July, 1983, "Their Will Be Done," by Martin