Famed journalist and Pulitzer prize winner Seymour Hersh, who for decades was a star reporter writing for The New York Times and New Yorker, on Wednesday published a new bombshell as his first Substack post, prompting a quick White House response
After conducting his own investigation into who sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines via a series of underwater blasts on Sept. 26, Hersh has concluded the United States blew up the Russia-to-Germany natural gas pipeline as part of a covert operation under the guise of the BALTOPS 22 NATO exercise.
Hersh, relying on unnamed national security sources, describes months of discussions and back-and-forth involving the Biden White House, CIA, and Pentagon. The report says planning was in the works all the way back to December 2021, with a special task force formed under the aegis of US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
“The Navy proposed using a newly commissioned submarine to assault the pipeline directly. The Air Force discussed dropping bombs with delayed fuses that could be set off remotely. The CIA argued that whatever was done, it would have to be covert. Everyone involved understood the stakes,” the report, entitled How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline reads.
“The Biden Administration was doing everything possible to avoid leaks as the planning took place late in 2021 and into the first months of 2022,” it continues.
As momentum gained to proceed with a covert sabotage attack, “Over the next few weeks, members of the CIA’s working group began to craft a plan for a covert operation that would use deep-sea divers to trigger an explosion along the pipeline,” Hersh writes.
But there was significant push back within the intelligence community, but any reservations were overcome in the lead-up and aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. According to the investigative report:
Throughout “all of this scheming,” the source said, “some working guys in the CIA and the State Department were saying, ‘Don’t do this. It’s stupid and will be a political nightmare if it comes out.’”
Nevertheless, in early 2022, the CIA working group reported back to Sullivan’s interagency group: “We have a way to blow up the pipelines.”
What came next was stunning. On February 7, less than three weeks before the seemingly inevitable Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden met in his White House office with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who, after some wobbling, was now firmly on the American team. At the press briefing that followed, Biden defiantly said, “If Russia invades . . . there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
Twenty days earlier, Undersecretary Nuland had delivered essentially the same message at a State Department briefing, with little press coverage. “I want to be very clear to you today,” she said in response to a question. “If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”