As President Obama met with the Pope Francis on Thursday, Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulLawmaker seeks to investigate Obama's foreign tax compliance law Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears GOP senators hit FBI on early probe of NY bombing suspect MORE (R-Ky.) offered some suggestion on what to say.
"Forgive me father for I have spied," Paul tweeted out Tuesday morning, in a joke about what Obama could say while visiting the Vatican.
The National Security Agency categorically denied reports that it spied on the Vatican last year ahead of the selection of a new pope. Paul has been one of the most vocal critics of a NSA surveillance program that has swept up millions of phone records of people in the United States.
The report surfaced in an Italian magazine last October amid a number of articles about secret surveillance programs revealed by leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
“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,” NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said in a statement last year.
On Thursday, Obama said he was a "great admirer" of Pope Francis when meeting him and presented the leader with a seed chest featuring seeds from the White House garden.