VATICAN CITY -- The United States sought to engage the Vatican in joint crisis management training in hopes that it would further anti-terrorism cooperation, according to a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Rome released by WikiLeaks.
The cable, dated Dec. 19, 2008, was approved by the outgoing ambassador to Italy, Ronald Spogli.
"The known al-Qaida antipathy to the pope" was cited as one of the reasons the embassy was keen to get the Vatican on board with an anti-terrorism plan.
The dispatch said that while Domenico Giani, the Vatican security chief, had been cool to U.S. offers of direct cooperation in dealing with threats from al-Qaida, he had in the past sought FBI training in specific areas. It said agents from the Vatican gendarme agency had received explosives handling training at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va.
Classified as "secret," the cable was addressed to the U.S. State Department and titled "Request for Crisis Management Training for Vatican."