Nord Stream Pipeline sabotaged by the US?
February 17, 2023

The catastrophe of the Nord Stream Pipeline remains a mystery. But longtime investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has recently pinned blame on the U.S. government. He published “How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline” on Substack, which has left official Washington and other media channels nearly speechless, and has once again ignited International Public opinion.

Map of Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines

The report provides details of how the US intelligence agencies planned the sabotage under the order of US President Joe Biden and how the US Navy carried out the bombing with the alliance of the Norwegian forces. The New York Times called it a “mystery,” but the United States executed a covert sea operation that was kept secret—until now, according to Hersh. The operation, reportedly authorized by President Biden, ended with the pipelines’ destruction on Sept. 26, 2022.

The White House responded to the publication of Mr. Hersh’s report as ‘false and complete fiction.’ But in this time of government distrust, the details of Mr. Hersh’s story seems more truthful.

President Biden and his foreign policy team—National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and Victoria Nuland, the Undersecretary of State for Policy and CIA—had been vocal and consistent in their hostility to the two pipelines.

Washington focused not only on how to blow up the pipelines, but also on how to leave no evidence behind. The execution forces, time, place, and the way the explosion was carried out were all carefully planned, as if it was directed by some big Hollywood screenwriter.

Might Hersh’s claims carry weight?

The initial claims made by some U.S. officials and administrators that Russia had bombed its own pipelines seemed ludicrous. Russia was profiting handsomely from its Nord Stream gas sales. Why would they invest so much money in pipelines and then bomb them themselves? Moreover, Russia has also taken steps to begin expensive repairs on the giant gas pipeline and one repair estimate starts at about $500 million, the reporter said. This raises the question of why, if Russia bombed its own pipelines, it would begin the expensive work of repairing them?

Some experts argue that the US, rather than Russia, has both the capability and motive to carry out the alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines. “There is considerable circumstantial evidence that the destruction of Nord Stream is a US operation, perhaps with other NATO countries… There are few if any countries other than the US that have the capability [and motivation] to blow up the pipeline.” Sachs,
a Columbia University professor, tells TRT World. Moreover, US had also initially taken several steps to try to stop the Nord Stream Pipeline and impose sanctions on its construction.

Thirdly, as Mr. Hersh points out, Mr. Biden publicly threatened, in so many words, to destroy the pipelines. The exact wording from Joe Biden was, “If Russia invades, there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2, we will bring an end to it.” And when a reporter asked how exactly he intended to do it, given that the project was within the control of Germany, Biden just said, “I promise we will be able to do it.”

Lastly, as Hersh notes, “From its earliest days, Nord Stream 1 was seen by Washington and its anti-Russian NATO partners as a threat to western dominance.” America’s political fears were real: Putin would now have an additional and much-needed major source of income, and Germany and the rest of Western Europe would become addicted to low-cost natural gas supplied by Russia, while diminishing European reliance on America. Under the fragile political mutual trust, the Nord Stream pipelines were once a main artery of energy connecting Western Europe and Russia, stabilizing the security situation by expanding common interests.

Because of this, it has always been a “thorn in the eye” of Washington. No doubt Seymour Hersh presents compelling information, but the Substack post has been criticized for relying on a single anonymous source. However, that is not an uncommon practice in journalism, particularly in the case of politically sensitive stories.

We have no way of independently verifying Hersh’s claims, but his account is thorough, well-written and most importantly fits with the established facts. Hersh is not a small-time blogger, but a serious journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing the 1968 Mỹ Lai massacre, so his credentials at least merit some consideration of his claims.

Recent News