One year ago today, the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were blown up by explosions measuring 2.3 on the Richter scale, in 230 ft. of water, in two spots 40 miles apart. German, Danish and Swedish authorities promised investigations but have not yet published any official findings. On March 27, 2023, the UN Security Council rejected calls by Russia and China for an international investigation.
On Feb. 8, 2023, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published a detailed account of how the Biden administration’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan instructed the CIA to destroy the Nord Stream pipelines in December 2022, well before the start of the war. Hersh’s detailed account remains the most convincing version of the events, although it is routinely either “debunked” or ignored by the mainstream press, who prefer to speculate about anonymous Ukrainians who blew up the massive, 3 inch thick concrete and steel pipelines using a sailboat.
Writing again today, Hersh revealed new details from his intel source about how the Biden administration misled the CIA into thinking the sabotage plans were meant to deter Putin and preserve peace, while instead aiming to cripple Germany economically and make sure Germany did not succumb to Russian pressure.
“The Biden administration blew up the pipelines but the action had little to do with winning or stopping the war in Ukraine, Hersh wrote “It resulted from fears in the White House that Germany would waver and turn on the flow of Russia gas—and that Germany and then NATO, for economic reasons, would fall under the sway of Russia and its extensive and inexpensive natural resources. And thus followed the ultimate fear: that America would lose its long-standing primacy in Western Europe.”
Hersh’s source explained “the real reason why the Biden administration brought up taking out the Nord Stream pipeline.” While Russia was supplying gas and oil to the world via more than a dozen pipelines, Nord Stream 1 and 2 ran directly from Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany.
“The administration put Nord Stream on the table because it was the only one we could access and it would be totally deniable,” Hershs CIA source told him. “We solved the problem within a few weeks—by early January—and told the White House. Our assumption was that the president would use the threat against Nord Stream as a deterrent to avoid the war.”
Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland was clearly involved in the plot, Hersh writes, since on January 27, 2022, she “stridently warned Putin that if he invaded Ukraine, “one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward,” while noting that “We continue to have very strong and clear conversations with our German allies.”
When German chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Washington on February 7, 2022, Joe Biden warned that “If Russia invades … there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” Asked by a reporter how he could promise this since the pipeline was under Germany and Russia’s control, Biden said: “We will, I promise you, we’ll be able to do it.”
Olaf Scholz did not seem fazed by this threat. “We are acting together. We are absolutely united, and we will not be taking different steps. We will do the same steps, and they will be very hard to Russia”, Scholz said.
To the CIA team planning the attack, this signalled that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was “fully aware of the secret planning underway to destroy the pipelines,” Hersh’s source told him.
At this time, the intel community took this as confirmation their task was “to come up with a plan that would be forceful enough to deter Putin from the attack on Ukraine,” Hersh writes. “We did it. We found an extraordinary deterrent because of its economic impact on Russia. And Putin did it despite the threat,” Hersh’s source siad.
It took two expert US Navy deep sea divers “months of research and practice” along with Norwegian seamen, who found the spot to plant the bombs, before the mission was deemed a go. “Senior officials in Sweden and Denmark, who still insist they had no idea what was going on in their shared territorial waters, turned a blind eye to the activities of the American and Norwegian operatives. The American team of divers and support staff on the mission’s mother ship—a Norwegian minesweeper—would be hard to hide while the divers were doing their work. The team would not learn until after the bombing that Nord Stream 2 had been shut down with 750 miles of natural gas in it,” Hersh writes.
Despite Biden’s threat, Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Nonetheless, the White House told the CIA planning group “to plant the necessary bombs and be ready to trigger them ‘on demand’ even after the war began,“ Hersh writes. After the charges were planted in June 2022 as part of the BaltOps military exercise, the team was disbanded. The explosion was later triggered by a single Norwegian fighter plane “dropping of an altered off-the-shelf sonar device at the right spot in the Baltic Sea,” Hersh writes.
“It was then that we understood that the attack on the pipelines was not a deterrent because as the war went on we never got the command,” Hershs source told him. “We realized that the destruction of the two Russian pipelines was not related to the Ukrainian war but was part of a neocon political agenda to keep Scholz and Germany, with winter coming up and the pipelines shut down, from getting cold feet and opening up” the shuttered Nord Stream 2. “The White House fear was that Putin would get Germany under his thumb and then he was going to get Poland.”
“So the president struck a blow against the economy of Germany and Western Europe,” the source told Hersh. “He could have done it in June and told Putin: We told you what we would do.” The White House’s silence and denials were, he said, “a betrayal of what we were doing. If you are going to do it, do it when it would have made a difference.”
Source material can be found at this site.