Andrew P. Napolitano is a former professor of law and judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey.
Pulblished in the Washington Times February 15, 2023
Which is more destructive to personal liberty: a government that engages in secret acts of war, or a public and news media that are indifferent to it? In the current American toxic stew of anti-Russian hatred and beating the drums of war — in President Biden’s America — we have both.
Report # 206. The USA plus Norway are responsible for Nord Stream blast
February 21, 2023
1. Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on threats to international peace and security (sabotage of Nord Stream gas pipeline). February 21, 2023
“Today we have gathered here for a very remarkable meeting.
It is somewhat assonant with the previous meeting regarding the act of sabotage against the Nord Stream pipe that we called on 30 September last year, yet this meeting is completely different by its tone. As many of you surely remember, back then it was already clear who may be standing behind that act of international terrorism (for this is how we qualify this incident), and Russian investigative bodies started criminal proceedings under a corresponding Article of Russia’s Criminal Code. US leadership made some statements which boil down to one message – if Russia kept doing what the United States does not like, the Nord Stream would be destroyed. Then, rather inopportunely, former Foreign Minister of Poland Sikorski (who clearly knew something) got in the spotlight, having thanked the United States on social media in a paroxysm of Russophobia. Add to this a rather indiscreet text message by former head of the British Government L.Truss, who is also known for her fierce hatred to my country. Yet formally, the United States strongly denied its involvement, realizing prospective consequences of such sabotage of critical international pipeline infrastructure. They still do, by the way.
Since then, the malevolence of Washington’s officials has increased, not in the least thanks to another famous Russophobe, “godmother” of the anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine V.Nuland. However, we would not be convening this meeting only because of this. The thing is that on 8 February, thanks to a prominent American investigative journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner S.Hersh, we not only learned the whos, but also the hows. We came to know how the US did this with help from Norway, its ally in NATO. Proceeding from facts and testimonies by eyewitnesses, he convincingly proves that during NATO’s BALTOPS exercise in summer 2022, divers from US Navy planted explosives under the pipes, which were detonated by the Norwegians three months later, on 26 September 2022. So now we know with a high degree of certainty not only who blew up our gas pipe, and also how they did it. Basically, these facts allow us to say that this was a use of force carried out in a way that is incompatible with the goals of the UN Charter.
In this statement, I will not go further into details of S.Hersh’s topline investigation, because our two briefers, J.Sachs and R.McGovern, have covered those extensively. I will only say that the depth of information that he has collected is truly striking. His previous professional expertise and uncompromising integrity leave us no doubt that this American journalist is telling the truth.
What is also striking is the level of cynicism and all-out sense of impunity with which this unprecedented crime was committed. We have got accustomed to the fact that our American colleagues position themselves above the law or rather pretend that they are the law, which they think gives them the right to interfere in internal affairs of states without retribution, carry out anti-constitutional coups, take aggressive action against independent states (I remind that by estimates of the US Congressional Research Service, since the end of the Cold War, the US has used its armed forces abroad on 251 occasions), kill and torture peaceful population in third countries while refusing to commit the perpetrators to international justice. With their allies singing along, they call it “rules-based order”, where the rules are set by themselves.
However before now, they never went as low as to blow up foreign pipelines that are owned by states with which the US was not at war. Well, this day has come. Maybe, it presages a new era, in which cross-border and trans-continental infrastructure will become a legitimate target for operations aimed at weakening of some or other states. As you can imagine, this would be an era of chaos and unspeakable harm to the entire humanity. Odds are huge that this era may truly come, unless those responsible for the sabotage of the Nord Stream are identified and held duly accountable. And unless those who masterminded this crime reimburse for the damage that occurred with the affected states – the way international law (and basic principles of justice) see it. Then and only then we will have a chance to avoid this chaos. All is in our hands, and the choice is being made i.a today, at this very meeting of the Security Council.
Contrary to what our former Western partners are about to say, we do not spread disinformation in the Security Council, and do not ty to make a guilty verdict based on allegations in the “highly likely” spirit. This is something British representatives did five years ago when they made an unconvincing attempt to accuse us of the poisoning of the Skripals which was based only on allegations and speculations neither of which had anything to do with facts or common sense. With the Nord Stream sabotage, neither the motive of the crime nor the perpetrators or the method raise any doubts. This is even more than the “smoking gun” that detectives always dream to find in Hollywood blockbuster movies. With such evidence, no lawyer would venture to defend our American colleagues in court, and predicting the jury verdict would be a no-brainer.
But we have not gathered here to have a trial. As you know, we put forward a draft UNSC resolution that tasks the Secretary-General to carry out an independent international investigation, and double-check the facts that S.Hersh and other independent journalists cite.
We have to do this, because we have strong reasons to doubt the effectiveness, transparency, and impartiality of investigations that are being carried out under some national jurisdictions. We do not see our partners being eager to cooperate. We have taken note of the letter by Permanent Representatives of Germany, Denmark, and Sweden saying that the authorities of these states had informed Russia on the progress of the investigation. Things are different in reality. Leaders of the states in question ignored the communications that Prime Minister of Russia, M.Mishustin, addressed to them in October 2022 regarding participation of relevant Russian agencies and PJSC Gazprom in the investigations. Relevant requests of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation were declined. Since we talk about a crime that was committed by means of an explosive device, which makes it subject to the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings of 15 December 1997, we expect that all states that have to do with the incident, namely the US, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, will fulfil their obligations under this document. But leadership of these states do not show any political will or rather do not have any.
Unfortunately, there is no other way for us to attain the truth.
Those so-called investigations by Scandinavian states and Germany not only lack transparency, but, and this has become obvious by now, are aimed at covering up the tracks and exculpating the big American brother.
We are not allowed to partake, and all our requests are ignored with arrogance. By the way, it is rather weird that the states who conduct the investigations have not requested to act as briefers today. With other meetings, there is no end to those willing to take the floor. Of course, we do not and cannot have any trust in them. But we still do have trust in the Secretary-General and hope that you do too. That is why we suggest that he should be tasked with this investigation.
We circulated as official documents of the Security Council and General Assembly an address of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation that contains a corresponding request, and also verbal notes on that matter that our respective embassies addressed to Foreign Ministries of Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the US. Everyone who wants to can read those documents.
If our American colleagues indeed have nothing to fear and if they do not doubt that their fellow citizen was all wrong, then the US does not risk anything, of which we will soon be able to make sure. In such case, we will strive to identify and hold accountable whoever it was that encroached on international peace and security by their actions. So, we look forward to having our proposal supported. These days, experts are in the middle of discussing our draft. After the first round, however, we are inclined to think that Western experts are not interested in an objective international investigation, which but substantiates our suspicion.
Colleagues, your approach to our proposed draft resolution, your interest (or the lack of it) in searching for the perpetrators and holding them accountable will define our further steps in the context of the act of sabotage that took place. We very much want to believe that you will not disappoint us or your own people and will help to establish the truth as prescribed by the Charter of this Organization”.
2.The silencing of Hersh’s work has failed
The silencing of Hersh’s work has failed. In America, they are beginning to write about the historical significance of this investigation, and among a number of publications on the subject stands out the opinion of renowned legal scholar Andrew Napolitano, who served as a judge of the New Jersey Supreme Court and published nine books commenting on the U.S. Constitution.
His article, published in The Washington Times  under the title “What is Biden’s purpose in the Russia-Ukraine conflict?” states that, legally speaking, Joseph Biden unleashed a direct military conflict to bypass American lawmakers, and accuses the president of committing a war crime.
Under the U.S. Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war. Under the treaties to which the United States is a signatory, there must be moral and legal grounds for declaring war – that is, a clear military threat from the armed forces of another state. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the President to notify Congress of all combat deployments.
Disrupting Nord Stream was a violent act of which Congress was not notified in advance, it was not defensive in nature, and its purpose was not to save the lives of those attacked by a foreign country’s army. Furthermore, the act was directed against an American ally.
In other words, since the United States attacked Germany and Russia to weaken their economies, and since they were aware that this attack had no moral justification, it makes the act of war they committed a criminal – that is, a war crime,” Napolitano writes about it.
According to The Washington Times, the Americans are now directly involved in the Ukrainian conflict, and the U.S. has been dragged into the war without notifying the American nation.
3. Germany has lost100 billion euros
Germany has lost 100 billion euros (over $106.7 billion) amid the Russian military operation in Ukraine and the related increase in electricity costs, Marcel Fratzscher, President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), said.
“The Ukraine war and the associated explosion in energy costs cost Germany almost 2.5 percent, or 100 billion euros in economic output in 2022,” Fratzscher told the Rheinische Post newspaper, adding that these costs will continue to increase in the coming years.
Fratzscher said that Germany has been more affected by the crisis economically because it was more dependent on Russian energy, has a high proportion of energy-intensive industry and “is extremely dependent on exports and global supply chains.”
Ray McGovern discusses Seymour Hersh’s story, “How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline” on Garland Nixon and Wilmer Leon’s radio show, The Critical Hour. (With transcript).
Sy Hersh has a piece at his Substack account entitled How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline. The New York Times called it a, quote unquote mystery. But the United States executed a covert C.I.A. operation that was kept secret until now. For insight into this, let’s turn to our first guest. He works with Tell the World, The publishing arm of the Ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner city Washington; has 27 year career as a C.I.A. analyst, serving as chief of the Soviet foreign policy branch and preparing the president’s daily brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, and he is, of course, Ray McGovern. As always, Ray, welcome back.
Thanks for having me.
So Sy Hersh writes, last June, the Navy divers operating under the cover of a widely publicized midsummer NATO exercise known as BALTOPS 22, planted the remotely triggered explosives that three months later destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines. This is according to a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.
What I’ll say, Ray, is usually when we hear of unknown sources, we tend to question the veracity or validity of the piece.
But if it’s Sy Hersh, I got to give it its due. Ray McGovern.
I know Sy Hersh.
I know you do.
I know him to be a meticulous reporter, winner of five Polk Awards, Pulitzer Prize, you name it. Back in the day when honest reporters were so honored. This piece has all the earmarks of Sy’s meticulous approach, and he clearly has a very good source who felt, well, he felt a constitutional obligation to honor his or her oath to the Constitution of the United States, which is the supreme oath any of us take. And that is to make sure that you tell the truth, especially when the Constitution is being violated.
Now, this was an act of war, pure and simple. Curiously enough, it was against Germany. And curiously enough, President Joseph Biden, at a press conference in the presence of the chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, said this is going to happen if Russia invaded Ukraine. And, of course, he was asked, well, how do you do this? I mean, how can you how can you be so confident that Nord Stream will be killed and Biden said, well, just, you know, trust me, it’s going to happen.
And so she, bilingual, the Reuters reporter, turned to Scholz – and this is not widely available now for obvious reasons – and she said, well, I mean, do you agree with that? I mean, hello, how do you feel about this? And this hack, this political hack said: we do everything together. We do everything together. We will be together on this now. So that’s available now. It’s available. Not Sy Hersh’s piece yet, but that interview is available in Germany.
You know, I describe Olaf Scholz as kind of the epitome of the abused spouse. Stands there and is abused not only by his master, Joe Biden, but also by this hack that he has as foreign minister. Her name is [Annalena] Baerbock. She is the the most vociferous of all the people saying that we are at war. That’s what she said. We are at war with Russia.
So the question will be: it has been 90 years, count them, nine zero years since the Nazis were making a push for power in Germany. What happened? The Reichstag, the German parliament building was burned down at the end of January, 1933. What happened? The Germans caved. The Nazis didn’t have a majority, but they scared the living daylights out of German citizens.
First of all, Social Democrats gave in. Next to fall, the Zentrum party, the Catholic Party. No one spoke up. We know the rest of the story. All right. Now, sometimes history is replete with ironies. Here it is exactly to the month, 90 years later. Will the German people acquiesce in their industry, and then their bodies being frozen out this winter? Or will they rise up and say: “Look, Mr Scholz, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, and neither does Baerbock. Get out of here!”, and replace that government?
Now, the key to all this, of course, is the fact I have already mentioned. Sy Hersh’s piece has not been published in Germany. The New York Times hasn’t published it. The major media haven’t published. Where did Sy have to publish this? On Substack. Now, at one point he had a friend at the German newspaper, Die Welt, and they published an incredible exposé on Syria. It turned out to be true, but Sy couldn’t get it published anywhere else. He used to publish in The New York Times, then in The New Yorker. He has been banned.
So the question is, will it be possible to inform not only the American people, but more important, the German people that they’ve been had? Okay? This is depriving them of livelihoods and industry. Will they, unlike 90 years ago, act like adults, stand up and say: “Now we’ve had it. Blowing up our our gas pipeline, that’s too far. We’re going to look at things differently. First and foremost, our involvement in Ukraine.”
Ray, domestically. Here. In this piece, if it is to be believed – which, I believe it and it certainly warrants an internal investigation here – the Biden administration admitted that what they were doing was an act of war, which means they understood that only Congress could, in fact, constitutionally clear that action. And they, with malice and aforethought, took action to mitigate their accountability to the Constitution and Congress.
And Joe Biden was the head guy there. He was the man that… eventually they decided rather than just put explosives on it, apparently Biden wanted to give the word for when it was done. This is an impeachable offense. This is a requirement of Congress, to act on it. Your thoughts on Congress not acting on it? I don’t suspect they will. And if there will be ultimately in the long term, any ramifications for that? Your thoughts on that anyway Ray.
Well, again, if the big tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it fall, does it make a sound? It is incredible how The New York Times – actually I’ve taken to calling The New York Times The New Yellow Times, after yellow journalism, which as most people know is what you do when you exaggerate or slant things beyond the truth.
The New Yellow Times can prevent this from being heard, and more important now, prevent corroboration from being a voice. We have corroboration now from Gil Doctorow in Brussels, Larry Johnson in Tampa, it’s coming in. And so I applaud the source that told Sy Hersh all this information. I believe it implicitly. Sy has never been wrong on really important issues like this. As I say, he’s meticulous, and he was distraught – and I know this personally – distraught at all this stuff about Russiagate.
He and Bob Parry used to – my mentor, Robert Parry, Consortium News– used to commiserate on the phone and, you know, what’s happened to the to the media? So here again, we have the media right in the middle of this thing. Only Tucker Carlson has had the cajones so far to play this story. Will it go further? I suspect… well, I don’t know but I like to try to be the optimist. Can The New York Times and the major media suppress this indefinitely? Well, I suppose they can. They’ve suppressed other stories, equally important, like the fact that the Russians are proven not to have hacked into the DNC, and that the ‘Russian offensive’ there with Facebook amounted to nothing.
So if they can deceive the American people, as the American people are willing to be deceived, then you know this will not have its desired effect. The fact that that Sy had to go on Substack to do this is really a lurid manifestation of the fact that not even the most prized, the most meticulous investigative reporter in the United States, could not get this published elsewhere.
That speaks volumes.
Part of this piece, Sy discusses meetings that Victoria Nuland and Anthony Blinken and Jake Sullivan held in the executive office of the President, where they debated options for an attack on the pipeline. And he writes that the C.I.A. argued that whatever was done, it would have to be covert. And at the time, the C.I.A. was directed by Bill Burns, as Sy describes him, a mild mannered former ambassador to Russia. I know you know Burns well. He says that Burns quickly authorized a C.I.A. working group whose ad hoc members included someone who was familiar with the capacity of these Navy deep sea divers. Your thoughts on Burns’s involvement in this?
I do know Burns. He let me, well, in effect shame James Clapper by pointing out to an audience that Clapper had admitted that he fudged the evidence on weapons of mass destruction before the attack on Iraq. Burns was, some of us hoped, that he might be the adult in the room, but Burns is the epitome of a cog in the wheels of the system. He’s a state Department type. He got to be number two in the State Department and you don’t get to be number two in the State Department unless you salute. Whether it’s a harebrained scheme or not you salute. Well, here you have the epitome of a harebrained scheme. Did did Burns salute? Yes, as soon as the president said do it. He turned to his people and he said, Do it.
And they they rubbed their hands and said: Oh, man, this is going to be fun! We can do this. We can work with the Navy. We can do it. Okay. Now, what do the analysts say? Well, Burns didn’t give a rat’s patootie about what his analysts say, but Sy Hersh includes the notion that some of them said: You know, this is really crazy, this is really stupid. This is going to come back to bite us.
That’s what we always used to say on cockamamie schemes like this. What’s the point here? The point here is that the operations people at C.I.A. get all the money, get all the attention and get all the influence over whatever director comes in and another side lesson here is that if you’re going to pick a director for the C.I.A., don’t go to the State Department for a yes man. You don’t go to the Congress for somebody who compromises, for God’s sake. You find somebody like Admiral Stansfield Turner, four star, who had made his own his own mark on life and was not going to take any crap from nobody else, is going to tell the truth. He’s the last guy we had like that. God forbid we keep having these, well, these bureaucrats that salute when the president says jump.
One thing I did want to ask you, I had some thoughts. You know, the last – interesting – the last sentence where, you know, whoever the source is says, Oh, yeah, they did this thing. It was a brilliant operation, blah, blah, blah. He says the only flaw was the decision to do it. Here’s what it seems to me. I’m guessing it seemed like it came from somebody in the Pentagon, based on the knowledge. They basically said: You know, these idiots in the executive department, they have not a good move.
And C.I.A. was not real smart. State Department, bad move. The Pentagon wasn’t mentioned. And there are generally, I have heard recently, there are some pragmatists. It almost seems like there may. Well, anyway, your thoughts on the origins of this, if you have any?
Well, all I can say is that Sy Hersh has proven for about 40 years now that he is a trusted journalist. And when someone – and I suspect it aptly pertained to this particular source – when someone sees that an act of war has been has been committed by our government against all the… well, against the Constitution, maybe not against the U.S. designed “rules based order,” but, you know, we all swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Now this guy took that seriously. I suspect he went to that little corner in that bar where Sy meets his – I know where that is – meets his sources and told him this whole story. Sy said it only took him three months. I believe that. And American people… it’s eminently believable. The question is the fallout and whether the mass media can prevent this story from sneaking into the consciousness of Americans who have been taught, who have been brainwashed over the last seven years. Okay? Seven years now, to hate Russia.
Okay. Will Rogers had that wonderful aphorism, the comedian way back a century or two ago. Will Rogers put it this way. He said: “The problem is this: it’s not what people know. It’s what people know that ain’t so.” That’s the problem. And the people think that the Russians are just evil to the core. That Putin… Here’s an example. Okay? At the time when Sy Hersh’s story is going out, here’s The New York Times on February ninth. A yellow journalism piece by a fellow named Constant Méheut – a Frenchman, apparently – and it shows that Vladimir Putin was personally responsible for killing the 298 aboard Malaysian Airlines MH 17 over Ukraine in July of 2014. Now it says that in the title; it says that in the first paragraph; and third paragraph it says: Well, we can’t prove that Putin was really… Give me a break! Okay. So this is a day when they should have been featuring Sy’s research. They’re still at it. Blackening Putin, first and foremost, the rest of the Russians, and, you know, this was consequential.
Let me remind you that after the coup in Kiev, after the annexation of Crimea, the U.S. could still not get the Europeans to shoot themselves in the foot by sanctions. It was only after Malaysian Airlines MH 17 was downed – according to The New York Times, by Vladimir Putin himself – that they could get real sanctions that bit the Europeans more than they bit anyone, including the Russians. So this was consequential. This was the beginning of really strict sanctions. And I just wonder if the West Europeans and the East Europeans will wake up and say: “You know, this is a this is a bad deal to get involved with, what the U.S. wants, because they want war with Russia. And this is going to come to, as the Chinese used to call it, a no good end.”
Ray McGovern, as always, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate that analysis and we look forward to having you back.
Aye and most welcome.
The views expressed are solely those of the speakers and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
1. What measures Moscow will adopt against the US Nord Stream attack?
It is widely known that on September 27, 2022, Nord Stream AG reported unprecedented damage that occurred the day before on three strings of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. On September 26, Swedish seismologists registered two explosions on the pipeline routes.
Russia may take legal or political measures in connection with recent findings on the US Nord Stream pipeline blasts, published by US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, a senior Russian diplomat said. “This issue is constantly in our focus, and we will not leave this story unanswered. Political measures may be taken, as well as legal ones,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters on February 9.
He added that Russia would continue to press for access to the investigation.
“The pipes were Russian, and we are obviously the affected party, so we will press for access to the investigation. We will use all instruments at our disposal to uncover the truth,” the diplomat said.
The same day Grushko criticized Europe’s response to the blasts and its investigation into the matter. “The political stance, taken by Europe with regard to these affairs, exposes political impotence and reluctance to defend Europe’s deeply rooted, core interests, the interests that Europe has as Europe, not as a US satellite,” he said.
“The West bashfully sweeps under the rug the fact that their strategic document amount an attack on critical infrastructure to an armed assault, including in the sense stipulated by [NATO’s Washington Treaty] Article 5,” he added.
“And when an attack on critical infrastructure, on a pillar of Europe’s longstanding economic prosperity has occurred, Europe just swallowed it in silence: no one said anything, they refused to investigate it or let us participate in investigation,” Grushko stressed.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said earlier that “there will be consequences, despite Washington’s numerous refutations” to have a direct involvement into the act of aggression in the Baltic Sea.
According to the article published on February 8, US explosives were planted under the Russian Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines by US Navy divers under the guise of the regular BALTOPS 22 NATO Naval exercise that took place last June in the Baltic Sea. The story cited an unidentified source with direct knowledge of the operational planning as saying that US President Joe Biden personally authorized the operation. The President openly declared it on TV.
2. Tough measures against Norway will be launched as well
Russia is not surprised by the findings of US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that Norway was involved in the explosions at the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on February10.
“We have analyzed the American journalist’s publication about the explosions at Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, <…> we are not surprised by the conclusions of the American journalist of Oslo’s involvement in these acts of sabotage,” a diplomat said, adding that Norway obeys the United States and the European Union in its foreign policy.
The New York Times called it a “mystery,” but the United States executed a covert sea operation that was kept secret—until now
The U.S. Navy’s Diving and Salvage Center can be found in a location as obscure as its name—down what was once a country lane in rural Panama City, a now-booming resort city in the southwestern panhandle of Florida, 70 miles south of the Alabama border. The center’s complex is as nondescript as its location—a drab concrete post-World War II structure that has the look of a vocational high school on the west side of Chicago. A coin-operated laundromat and a dance school are across what is now a four-lane road.
The center has been training highly skilled deep-water divers for decades who, once assigned to American military units worldwide, are capable of technical diving to do the good—using C4 explosives to clear harbors and beaches of debris and unexploded ordinance—as well as the bad, like blowing up foreign oil rigs, fouling intake valves for undersea power plants, destroying locks on crucial shipping canals. The Panama City center, which boasts the second largest indoor pool in America, was the perfect place to recruit the best, and most taciturn, graduates of the diving school who successfully did last summer what they had been authorized to do 260 feet under the surface of the Baltic Sea.
Last June, the 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.
Two of the pipelines, which were known collectively as Nord Stream 1, had been providing Germany and much of Western Europe with cheap Russian natural gas for more than a decade. A second pair of pipelines, called Nord Stream 2, had been built but were not yet operational. Now, with Russian troops massing on the Ukrainian border and the bloodiest war in Europe since 1945 looming, President Joseph Biden saw the pipelines as a vehicle for Vladimir Putin to weaponize natural gas for his political and territorial ambitions.
Asked for comment, Adrienne Watson, a White House spokesperson, said in an email, “This is false and complete fiction.” Tammy Thorp, a spokesperson for the Central Intelligence Agency, similarly wrote: “This claim is completely and utterly false.”
Biden’s decision to sabotage the pipelines came after more than nine months of highly secret back and forth debate inside Washington’s national security community about how to best achieve that goal. For much of that time, the issue was not whether to do the mission, but how to get it done with no overt clue as to who was responsible.
There was a vital bureaucratic reason for relying on the graduates of the center’s hardcore diving school in Panama City. The divers were Navy only, and not members of America’s Special Operations Command, whose covert operations must be reported to Congress and briefed in advance to the Senate and House leadership—the so-called Gang of Eight. 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.
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—had been vocal and consistent in their hostility to the two pipelines, which ran side by side for 750 miles under the Baltic Sea from two different ports in northeastern Russia near the Estonian border, passing close to the Danish island of Bornholm before ending in northern Germany.
The direct route, which bypassed any need to transit Ukraine, had been a boon for the German economy, which enjoyed an abundance of cheap Russian natural gas—enough to run its factories and heat its homes while enabling German distributors to sell excess gas, at a profit, throughout Western Europe. Action that could be traced to the administration would violate US promises to minimize direct conflict with Russia. Secrecy was essential.