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February 13, 2023

Did Biden Really Blow Up Nord Stream 2?

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist presents a rather dubious conspiracy that the U.S. was behind the sabotage of the Russian pipeline.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, who first rose to fame after he exposed the infamous My Lai massacre by U.S. military troops in Vietnam back in 1968, recently released a story in which he claims it was the U.S. that blew up the Nord Stream pipeline.

Hersh alleges that U.S. Navy divers “operating under the cover of a widely publicized mid-summer NATO exercise known as BALTOPS 22, planted the remotely triggered explosives that, three months later, destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines, according to a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.”

Hersh doesn’t depend solely on an unnamed source. He claims that source fits quite nicely with news reports and public comments made by members of the Biden administration, including Joe Biden’s own statement in early 2022 prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, warning: “If Russia invades … there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the same thing in January 2022: “I want to be very clear — if Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward, and we want to be very clear about that.”

With the available material, Hersh weaves together an espionage tale worthy of a Tom Clancy novel. The glaring problem is the evidence — or, rather, the lack thereof.

Unsurprisingly, the Biden White House has rejected the allegations as “false and complete fiction.” CIA spokeswoman Tammy Thorp likewise said, “This claim is completely and utterly false.” Of course, government officials offering denials hardly disproves the allegations, but the accuser has little to offer other than a rather fanciful, albeit entertaining, conspiracy theory.

Combined with the lack of hard evidence, Hersh’s allegation doesn’t pass the smell test when it comes to what we know and have observed of Biden and his administration. While Biden may be incompetent, especially when it comes to international affairs (see his disastrous exit from Afghanistan), the notion that he and his team would suddenly turn so hawkish as to engage in an action that, according to Hersh, they acknowledged if found out would be seen as an act of war seems dubious at best.

Indeed, just last week the Biden administration let China float a spy balloon across the entire continental U.S., only to shoot it down after it reached the Atlantic Ocean. So the notion that Biden would have green-lit a secret sabotage operation months prior to the Russians invading Ukraine — at a time when almost everyone believed that Vladimir Putin would not actually pull the trigger igniting the war — is highly unlikely. Remember, we’re talking about Joe Biden, the same guy who opposed the Osama bin Laden raid.

Furthermore, by the time Nord Stream 2 blew up in the fall of 2022, the tide of the war had turned significantly in Ukraine’s favor. A war that almost everyone believed would result in a quick and easy Russian victory was proving to be anything but that. So, why with all of NATO coming together in support of Ukraine would the Biden administration risk dividing NATO? The concern that Germany would for some reason crack under pressure and give in to Putin’s demands in order to maintain the flow of Russian natural gas appears outsized and overblown.

As we noted previously, Putin sabotaging his own pipeline and pinning it on the U.S., if believed by Germany and other NATO countries, would serve him more than simply threatening to turn off the flow of gas. Appearing as the victim rather than the villain always garners more sympathy for one’s cause, and at the very least it would work to deceive his own people and gin up nationalistic support for the war.

Of course, if Hersh is proven correct, we’ll be the first to admit it. But as Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) observes, “If it turns out to be true, we’ve got a huge problem.” Yeah, that huge problem would likely mean a direct conflict with Russia.

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