Did Biden give the order to destroy Putin’s Nord Stream pipeline after Ukraine invasion? Bombshell report claims Navy divers carried out mission to kill Russia’s gas stranglehold on Europe in audacious mission overseen by president
- U.S. Navy divers planted C4 explosives that caused $500 million damage to Nord Stream pipelines between Russia and Germany, sensational report claims
- Report by Pulitzer Prize-winner Seymour Hersh details plot in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Europe’s dependence on gas from Moscow
- The White House and the CIA have denied claims the attack was carried out after nine months of secret planning overseen by President Joe Biden
PUBLISHED: 16:21 GMT, 8 February 2023 | UPDATED: 22:07 GMT, 8 February 2023
Specialized U.S. Navy diving teams carried out the bombing attack against the underwater Nord Stream pipelines which supply Russian gas to western Europe during a top secret mission overseen by President Joe Biden, a bombshell report claims.
Divers planted C4 explosives on three Nord Stream pipelines in June 2022 which were detonated three months later using a sonar buoy which broadcast a signal that triggered the bombs, according to the report.
The attack was carried out in response to Vladimir Putin‘s invasion of Ukraine and designed to force Germany and other European nations to end their reliance on Russian gas, it is claimed. The move would also disrupt Moscow’s income from gas sales – which have contributed billions of dollars to its war effort.
The sensational report by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, published to his Substack, cites a source ‘with direct knowledge of the operational planning’ behind the alleged plot. The White House and the CIA flatly rejected the report on Wednesday, branding it ‘complete fiction’.
Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were sabotaged by bomb blasts on September 26 2022 in an attack that, ostensibly, continues to baffle investigators. While analysts say the immediate impact of the attack was ‘limited’ – because the pipelines were not fully operational – the geopolitical consequences were huge.
A report by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claims the U.S. was responsible for the Nord Stream pipeline attacks. Navy divers alleged planted the explosives in June, using NATO exercises as cover. They were then detonated remotely in September, it is claimed.
Various theories have been floated for who carried out the attack, and how. Both the U.S. and Russia deny responsibility.
Russia, which has pointed the finger at the U.S., reportedly believes repairs will cost at least $500 million, but the Kremlin still hasn’t confirmed the pipes will be fixed. The Nord Stream project cost around $20 billion and took 15 years to construct
In a compelling, 5,000-word report about the alleged attack, Hersh claims diving experts trained at the U.S. Navy Diving and Salvage Center in Florida planted the explosives.
The divers are said to have carried out the top secret and highly-dangerous operation during BALTOPS22, a series of military exercises in the Baltic Sea carried out by 16 NATO countries. The U.S. divers reportedly used the highly-publicized, 13-day event in June 2022 as cover for their top-secret mission.
The C4 explosives attached to the pipelines were fitted with sensors that enabled them to be detonated remotely at a later date, Hersh reports.
Hersh reports that the explosions were triggered by a sonar buoy dropped by an aircraft. The buoy emitted a sequence of ‘unique low frequency tonal sounds’, compared to those produced by a flute or piano, which triggered the C4.
A spokesman for the White House said the report is ‘false and complete fiction’. A spokesman for the CIA said: ‘This claim is completely and utterly false.’
In February, Biden said the U.S. would ‘bring an end’ to Nord Stream if Russia invaded Ukraine. During a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Biden said: ‘If Russia invades… then there will be longer Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.’
Asked how he would do that, the President responded cryptically: ‘I promise you we will be able to do it.’
The press conference was held as Russia was mounting tens of thousands of troops at its border with Ukraine, in preparation for the invasion which began weeks later, on February 24.
Biden, Feb 2022: No more Nord Stream 2 if Russia invades Ukraine
Joe Biden reportedly oversaw the plot – but the White House and the CIA have said the report is ‘false’. Vladimir Putin has accused the U.S. of involvement in the attack
The Nord Stream pipelines – which cost around $20 billion and took 15 years to construct – formed a key part of Europe’s energy infrastructure. It is claimed the U.S. carried out the attack in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and to curb Europe’s reliance on gas from Moscow
Thousands of tons of natural gas was released into the Baltic Sea after the blasts, causing a dangerous swell that disrupted shipping and triggered fears of an environmental catastrophe
Planning for the attack reportedly began amid Russia’s mobilization of troops and fears inside the White House that Nord Stream 2, which was completed in 2021, would allow the Kremlin to further weaponize its energy supplies to Europe.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan convened a meeting in December 2021 of a new task force formed of officials from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, and the State and Treasure Departments.
The discussion was geared towards orchestrating a response to Russia’s impending invasion of Ukraine.
Hersh reports: ‘What became clear to participants, according to the source with direct knowledge of the process, is that Sullivan intended for the group to come up with a plan for the destruction of the two Nord Stream pipelines—and that he was delivering on the desires of the President.’
Several ideas were shared before the dive mission was selected. Other plans included using a submarine to attack the pipeline or aircraft to drop bombs with delayed fuses, it is claimed.
CIA director William Burns is said to have authorized a ‘working group’ to draw up the plan for deep-sea divers to carry out the mission. Hersh likened the plot to an undersea spying operation launched by the U.S. in the 1970s, when operatives tapped into underwater communication cables used by the Russian Navy.
According to Hersh, in early 2022, the CIA group told Sullivan’s task force: ‘We have a way to blow up the pipelines.’
The planners decided that Norway could serve as an ideal base for the operation because, in the words of Hersh’s source, the Scandinavian nation ‘hated the Russians and the Norwegian navy was full of superb sailors and divers who had generations of experience in highly profitable deep-sea oil and gas exploration’.
Russia’s Lavrov says United States involved in Nord Stream explosions
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (pictured) has accused the United States of direct involvement in explosions that severely damaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea
In March, members of the U.S. planning team flew to Norway for discussions with the Norwegian Secret Service and Navy. They decided to carry out the blasts near Denmark’s Bornholm Island, it is claimed. Norway’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday: ‘These allegations are false.’
The initial plan was to plant explosives with a 48-hour timer, but the White House later asked for a method that would allow more control over the timing of the blasts, and the buoy technique was developed, according to the report.
Hersh reports that the buoy was dropped by a Norwegian Navy P8 surveillance plane on September 26 ‘during a seemingly routine flight’ and the explosives detonated a few hours later.
Hersh is a former New York Times and New Yorker reporter who won numerous awards for his investigative journalism, including about the Vietnam War and the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal following the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
His reporting has previously been criticized for its heavy reliance on unnamed and anonymous sources.
More recently, he ignited controversy with a report disputing the Obama administration’s version of the 2011 killing of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in a U.S. special forces operation. He also drew criticism for another report accusing Syrian rebels of staging an August 2013 sarin nerve agent attack that killed hundreds of civilians.
Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the U.S. of direct involvement in the explosions.
Russia’s chief diplomat referenced a recent statement made by U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, who in a recent Senate hearing hailed the destruction of the pipeline. Lavrov described her words as a ‘confession’.
‘This is not only the direct participation of the United States in the explosions of the Nord Stream pipelines. Ms. Nuland has now made a confession,’ he told state television in an interview broadcast earlier today.
Nuland said on January 26: ‘I am, and I think the (Biden) administration is very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now… a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.’
No one has claimed responsibility for the explosions, despite two separate investigations by Swedish and Danish authorities having concluded the pipelines were sabotaged.
Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday the United States had questions to answer over its role in explosions following Hersh’s report.
Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called on the White House to comment on the ‘facts’ that had been presented.