Nord Stream Sabotage Was CIA, US Navy Covert Op: Seymour Hersh Bombshell Prompts White House Response
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.”
As for Washington motives in such a risky covert sabotage mission, Hersh writes, “As long as Europe remained dependent on the pipelines for cheap natural gas, Washington was afraid that countries like Germany would be reluctant to supply Ukraine with the money and weapons it needed to defeat Russia.”
Biden in February of last year: “There will be no longer a Nord Stream 2, we will bring an end to it.”
Norway played a significant logistics and intelligence role in assisting an elite US Navy deep-diving team of divers based out of Panama City to carry out the operation:
Sometime in March, a few members of the team flew to Norway to meet with the Norwegian Secret Service and Navy. One of the key questions was where exactly in the Baltic Sea was the best place to plant the explosives. Nord Stream 1 and 2, each with two sets of pipelines, were separated much of the way by little more than a mile as they made their run to the port of Greifswald in the far northeast of Germany.
The Norwegian navy was quick to find the right spot, in the shallow waters of the Baltic sea a few miles off Denmark’s Bornholm Island. The pipelines ran more than a mile apart along a seafloor that was only 260 feet deep. That would be well within the range of the divers, who, operating from a Norwegian Alta class mine hunter, would dive with a mixture of oxygen, nitrogen and helium streaming from their tanks, and plant shaped C4 charges on the four pipelines with concrete protective covers. It would be tedious, time consuming and dangerous work, but the waters off Bornholm had another advantage: there were no major tidal currents, which would have made the task of diving much more difficult.
Hersh’s sources underscore that the order came directly from President Biden’s office:
The C4 attached to the pipelines would be triggered by a sonar buoy dropped by a plane on short notice, but the procedure involved the most advanced signal processing technology. Once in place, the delayed timing devices attached to any of the four pipelines could be accidentally triggered by the complex mix of ocean background noises throughout the heavily trafficked Baltic Sea—from near and distant ships, underwater drilling, seismic events, waves and even sea creatures. To avoid this, the sonar buoy, once in place, would emit a sequence of unique low frequency tonal sounds—much like those emitted by a flute or a piano—that would be recognized by the timing device and, after a pre-set hours of delay, trigger the explosives.
…On September 26, 2022, a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane made a seemingly routine flight and dropped a sonar buoy. The signal spread underwater, initially to Nord Stream 2 and then on to Nord Stream 1. A few hours later, the high-powered C4 explosives were triggered and three of the four pipelines were put out of commission. Within a few minutes, pools of methane gas that remained in the shuttered pipelines could be seen spreading on the water’s surface and the world learned that something irreversible had taken place.
Given that it was Hersh – who broke such well-known stories as the My Lai massacre and Abu Ghraib scandal and has long been known for impeccable insider sources – behind the new bombshell ‘whodunnit’ report, mainstream media couldn’t ignore it this time (in the way MSM ignored Jeffrey Sachs and others).
The allegations were quickly picked up by The Times (UK), Reuters, and others – including Russian state media, prompting the White House to swiftly issue a rebuttal:
The White House said on Wednesday that a blog post by a U.S. investigative journalist alleging the United States was behind explosions of the Nord Stream pipelines “is utterly false and complete fiction.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry says the Hersh report reveals new facts that must be answered to, however, with spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stressing, “We have repeatedly stated Russia’s position on the involvement of the United States and NATO, noting that they did not hide it, bragging to the whole world about their intention to destroy the civilian infrastructure through which Europe received Russian energy resources.”
She added: “We have also regularly underscored the reluctance of Denmark, Germany and Sweden to conduct an open investigation and the opposition to Russia’s participation in it. And this is despite the fact that our country has suffered huge costs. Now, the White House should comment on all these facts.”