Vatican denies claims of Wikipedia tampering


The Vatican on Friday denied BBC reports that it tampered with the Wikipedia online encyclopedia entry for Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press Office, said such an initiative on the part of the Vatican would be “absurd,” reported ANSA.

The BBC reported on Wednesday that the Wikipedia Scanner, which reveals the identity of organizations that edit the online encyclopedia, recorded that Vatican computers were used to change a Web page about Adams.

The edit removed links to newspaper stories, which alleged that Adams' fingerprints and handprints were found on a car used in a double murder in 1971.

Fr. Lombardi said there are many computers at the Vatican and it is possible that an individual may have accessed Wikipedia from a Vatican computer. But the idea that the edit was an initiative of the Holy See is “without any logic,” he said.

The priest dismissed the report as typical of the types of stories that emerge during slow news periods. He also criticized the BBC’s lack of journalistic practice.

"All it would have taken to see that the Holy See had nothing to do with the change of the item was a routine journalistic verification," he was quoted as saying.

The BBC report said the Wikipedia Scanner also suggested that CIA computers were used to edit entries on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former CIA director Porter Goss and television celebrity Oprah Winfrey.