By Hudson Crozier
What’s new: Award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh reports that President Joe Biden, the CIA, and the Norwegian navy sabotaged Nord Stream pipelines through a secret bombing operation. He cited one anonymous source “with direct knowledge of the operational planning.”
To recap: The Nord Stream pipelines provided cheap Russian oil to Europe, especially Germany, and the U.S. strongly opposed this due to the leverage it gave to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine war. (An operational pipeline meant Germany had reason to push for peace and de-escalation.) Last September, an explosion halted its operation. World leaders and pundits speculated that Russia or America was behind it.
According to Hersh’s report, Biden, the CIA, the U.S. Navy, and the Norwegian navy coordinated to plant C4 explosives along the pipelines. In June, under the cover of performing a diving exercise, deep-sea Navy divers planted the C4s while avoiding Russian surveillance. In September, a Norwegian plane dropped a sonar buoy nearby, which the U.S. used to remotely detonate the bombs.
How credible is the story? It’s clear that the Biden administration had motive for such a plan. Biden vaguely promised to “bring an end” to the pipelines last year if Russia invaded Ukraine, and his secretary of state called the sabotage “a tremendous opportunity to … remove the dependence on Russian energy.” However, Hersh has been accused of relying too much on anonymous sources in recent years.
Where do we go from here? The White House, the CIA, and the State Department have denied Hersh’s claims; Russia has demanded a greater explanation. Biden has repeatedly promised to avoid direct conflict with Russia. If the U.S. is responsible for harming Russian resources, it would be seen as a significant escalation.