A shocking allegation asserting that the United States Navy demolished the Nord Stream pipeline system is “utterly untrue,” according to government representatives on Wednesday.
The geopolitical conflict had been centered on the pipelines that transported natural gas beneath the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany both prior to and following the invasion of Ukraine. As retaliation against Western Europe, Russia stopped supplies through Nord Stream 1 months into the conflict, and Germany prevented shipments through the nearby Nord Stream 2 days before the war even began. As natural gas spilled toward the Baltic Sea’s surface in September, Sweden and Denmark reported significant damage to the pipelines.
In a piece released on Wednesday, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claimed that during widely publicized training exercises over the summer, Navy divers planted remotely detonated explosives on the Nord Stream pipelines. Hersh won a Pulitzer Prize for his work exposing the covert My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. According to the story, which was based on an unknown source’s testimony, President Joe Biden thought the pipelines were a way for Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his nation’s natural gas supplies as a weapon to further his territorial goals.
Last year, Biden told a reporter that “we will be able” to put a “stop” to the system and threatened that “there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2” if Russia violated the Ukrainian border. Penalties on the Russian-owned firm behind Nord Stream 2 were first lifted by the commander-in-chief; but, just before the invasion began, he reimposed the sanctions.
When approached for reaction by Hersh, CIA spokesperson Tammy Thorp stated the assertion was “completely and absolutely untrue,” while White House spokesman Adrienne Watson called the idea that the United States destroyed the pipelines “false and complete fabrication.” Russian authorities may have damaged their own pipelines, according to some European officials; the US was accused by others.
Despite being in agreement that the United States should destroy the Nord Stream pipelines, senior national security officials and military brass apparently disagreed for months over how to do it, according to Hersh. The leadership of the Biden administration finally used Navy divers who had received explosives training at a Florida school to complete tasks like cleaning debris-filled ports and taking down foreign oil rigs.
While Air Force and Navy officials considered dropping bombs with delayed remote control fuses and using a submarine to attack the pipeline, respectively, CIA officials underlined that the action would need to be completely secret. The insider cautioned Hersh that the strike would qualify as “an act of war” if linked to the United States, saying “This is not child stuff.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken referred to the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines last year as a “tremendous opportunity” to reduce European dependence on Russian energy supply. German demonstrators have been demanding that the energy flow restart even though the pipes were not flowing natural gas due to skyrocketing power costs. The chance of Germany waiving sanctions in time to import natural gas for the winter was ruled out by the pipelines’ damage.