In a bombshell article, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh alleges that the United States destroyed the Nord Stream gas pipelines to prevent Vladimir Putin from weaponizing natural gas for his political and territorial ambitions while avoiding a direct conflict with Russia.
Hersh is well-known for his coverage of stories such as the My Lai massacre of 500 civilians in Vietnam and the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
He claims that the bombing of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea was a covert operation ordered by the White House. According to him, President Biden gave the order for a “Black Op” to destroy the Nord Stream pipelines, and the attack was carried out by the CIA in cooperation with Norway.
Rather than employing the Special Forces Command for the mission, the Biden administration opted to use graduates of the Navy’s diving school in Panama City. This decision was made because operations conducted by the Special Forces Command must be reported to Congress. In contrast, operations undertaken by the Navy’s diving school graduates do not require such reporting since they are not part of the Special Forces Command.
The White House has rejected Hersh’s report that the United States was behind the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines. White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson described the report published on his page on Substack as “complete fiction.”
How the USA “allegedly” destroyed the Nord Stream pipelines, as per Seymour Hersh
According to Hersh, in December of 2021, National Security Advisor to President Biden Jake Sullivan, who was part of a newly formed task force consisting of individuals from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, and the State and Treasury Departments, convened a meeting to discuss recommendations for responding to Putin’s impending invasion of Ukraine.
The meeting took place in a secure room on the top floor of the Old Executive Office Building, which was adjacent to the White House and was also the home of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB).
During the meeting, participants discussed whether the recommendation forwarded to the President should be reversible, such as another layer of sanctions and currency restrictions, or irreversible, such as kinetic actions.
According to a source with direct knowledge of the process, it became clear that Sullivan intended for the group to devise a plan for the destruction of the two Nord Stream pipelines and that he was carrying out the desires of the President.
The participants debated various options for attacking the Nord Stream pipelines, and ultimately, the CIA proposed using deep-sea divers to trigger an explosion along the pipeline. The interagency group was initially skeptical, but the CIA’s enthusiasm for the covert deep-sea attack persisted.
The CIA working group reported to the interagency group that they had found a way to blow up the pipelines. In early 2022, President Biden met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and stated that if Russia invades Ukraine, Nord Stream 2 will be brought to an end. Undersecretary Nuland of the State Department repeated this statement.
A group of people involved in the planning of the mission were upset about what they believed to be indirect references to the attack in a statement by President Biden and Nuland.
The plan to blow up Nord Stream 1 and 2 was originally a covert operation that required informing Congress, but the senior officials of the CIA determined that the plan could no longer be considered covert after Biden announced that they knew how to do it.
As a result, the plan was downgraded to a highly classified intelligence operation with US military support, no longer requiring Congress to be informed. The Agency working group members had no direct contact with the White House and awaited confirmation if the mission was a go. The source recalls that William Burns, the director of the CIA, eventually came back and said, “Do it.”
Norway was chosen as the base for the mission. Planners chose Norway because they hated the Russians, the Norwegian navy had superb sailors and divers with experience in deep-sea oil and gas exploration, and the Norwegians could be trusted to keep the mission secret.
The Norwegian navy quickly found the best spot in the shallow waters of the Baltic sea a few miles off Denmark’s Bornholm Island where the pipelines could be easily targeted by divers. The diving work would be dangerous, but the area had the advantage of having no major tidal currents.
The US Navy’s deep-diving group in Panama City and the Norwegians joined forces for a secret operation to plant explosive devices in pipelines off the coast of Bornholm Island. The operation was to be disguised as a research and development exercise in the context of the June NATO exercise Baltic Operations 22, or BALTOPS 22.
However, the White House later expressed second thoughts and asked for a way to detonate the bombs at a later time, on command. This caused frustration and renewed concerns among the planning team over the legality of the operation.
The team of Americans working in Norway were tasked with figuring out how to remotely detonate C4 explosives on the President’s order. The C4 was attached to the pipelines and would be triggered by a sonar buoy dropped from a plane using advanced signal processing technology.
The sonar buoy would emit a sequence of low-frequency tonal sounds that would be recognized by the timing device, triggering the explosives after a pre-set amount of time. However, there was a risk of the timing devices being accidentally triggered by ocean background noises throughout the Baltic Sea.
On September 26, 2022, a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane dropped a sonar buoy, triggering the C4 explosives and putting three out of four pipelines out of commission. Within minutes, methane gas from the shuttered pipelines could be seen spreading on the water’s surface, indicating that something irreversible had occurred.
After the bombing of pipelines in Norway, the US media initially treated it as an unsolved mystery and blamed Russia without a clear motive. Later, when it was revealed that Russian authorities were getting cost estimates to repair the pipelines, it complicated theories about the attacker.
The Secretary of State Blinken described the bombing as a great opportunity to end the dependence on Russian energy and to take away Putin’s means of advancing his interests through energy. The Undersecretary of State Nuland expressed satisfaction at the demise of the Nord Stream gas pipelines.
The source suggests that the reason Russia did not respond was that they wanted the capability to do the same thing as the US had done.
The US has long opposed Nord Stream 2 on the grounds that it would give Russia too much control over Europe’s energy supply. If Seymour Hersh’s report is accurate, then it would suggest that the US was willing to take more drastic measures in order to prevent the completion of the pipeline.
The allegations made by Hersh are serious and should be taken seriously. If true, they could have significant implications for US foreign policy and its relationship with Russia. It remains to be seen whether or not Hersh’s claims can be verified or if they will remain unproven.
Until then, we will have to wait for further evidence to emerge to draw definitive conclusions about who is responsible for the alleged attack on the Nord Stream pipelines.
- Hersh, S. (2023, February 8). How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline.