U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a resolution Thursday calling on President Barack Obama to fully explain the National Security Agency's spying activities in relation to Pope Francis and the Vatican.
"Do we want to be the country that is spying on the pope? For goodness sake, what good is that?" Paul said in a Fox News interview about 30 minutes after he submitted his resolution.
The accusation that the NSA has been spying on the pope came this week from an Italian publication. The NSA reportedly monitored phone calls made by cardinals and bishops before and after the papal conclave that chose Pope Francis.
The NSA denied the accusations, saying the agency "does not target the Vatican," and the assertions "are not true."
A spokesperson for the Vatican said, "we don't know anything about this matter and in any case, we have no worries about it."
When asked about the NSA's denials and the lack of concerns expressed by the Vatican, Paul responded, "the NSA also says collecting bulk data on Americans is not spying. So you have to parse their words. ... They may well have collected data on the pope, but they're saying it wasn't spying because they didn't listen to his phone calls. 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."
Senate resolutions are not binding on the president, but rather are used to express the sentiment of the Senate.
Paul's interview announcing his resolution was posted to his YouTube channel. You can watch it below.