When explosions ripped through and shut down the Nord Stream pipeline, Russia’s largest gas pipeline to Europe, between Sept. 26 and 29, 2002, the U.S., European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and Russia all agreed the damage and gas leaks pointed to sabotage but disagreed with who did the sabotage. Conspiracy theorists–-as well as Russia– said the U.S. government blew up the pipeline. Add Pulitzer winner Seymour Hersh to those conspiracy theorists. And in a blog, he pointed the finger at the U.S. Navy as being behind the Nord Stream pipeline explosion.
Opened in 2011, Nord Stream is an undersea pipeline that stretches 745 miles under the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast near St. Petersburg to north-eastern Germany. It can send a maximum of 170m cubic meters of gas per day from Russia to Germany, according to the BBC.
Hersh’s accusation drew a denial from the Pentagon on Feb. 8.
But in his blog, Hersh cited an unnamed source who claimed Americans planted remotely triggered explosives that wrecked three of the four pipelines that carry natural gas from Russia to Europe.
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Hersh charged that the Navy conducted the operation under the cover of a NATO maritime exercise, BALTOPS 22, The New York Post reported.
In his blog, Hersh suggested President Joe Biden ordered the explosions to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from “weaponiz[ing] natural gas for his political and territorial ambitions,” as Germany — and the rest of Europe — relied heavily on Russia for natural gas.
White House says blog post on Nord Stream explosion “utterly false,” Reuters reported.
“This is utterly false and complete fiction,” said Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council. Spokespeople for the CIA and State Department repeated the same, Insider reported.
Hersh is a former reporter for the Associated Press and New York Times as well as a longtime contributor to the New Yorker. Hersh first gained recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War, for which he received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. He has also won two National Magazine Awards and five George Polk Awards. In 2004, he received the George Orwell Award.
Hersh previously got push-back from the U.S. government when he claimed in 2013 that the government story of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden was “one big lie.” Due to this and more recent stories, Hersh has bee criticized for promoting conspiracy theories.
A scuba diver is shown in this underwater photograph taken while scuba diving off the Caribbean Island of Bonaire, May 15, 2009. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)