By Diego Ramos / Original to ScheerPost
In a report Tuesday morning, the New York Times claims new intelligence from anonymous U.S. officials puts Nord Stream pipeline sabotage blame on a pro-Ukrainian group.
The information released from the intelligence report offers little detail but asserts the group involved in last year’s terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea “were opponents of President Vladimir V. Putin, but does not specify the members of the group, or who directed or paid for the operation.”
The Times also alleges that, “U.S. officials said that they had no evidence President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine or his top lieutenants were involved in the operation, or that the perpetrators were acting at the direction of any Ukrainian government officials.”
Despite these assertions, the report also mentions that, “U.S. officials declined to disclose the nature of the intelligence, how it was obtained or any details of the strength of the evidence it contains.”
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The sub headline reads the intelligence report “amounts to the first significant known lead about who was responsible for the attacks,” yet the Times report goes on to acknowledge that their own former reporter, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh, published an article last month casting blame on the U.S. and President Joe Biden, citing anonymous sources of his own. The use of this source has stirred controversy for Hersh yet the Times relies exclusively on anonymous sources for this report, with an inclusion of an editor’s note about the use of these sources.
This is also the first time the New York Times has acknowledged the Hersh report aside from a Feb. 15 op-ed which briefly addresses the report and writes “Hersh is famous for breaking important stories and also for getting other stories badly wrong.”
The Times mentions that source officials say Biden and top aides were not involved in the decision making for the attack.
European officials, however, have publicly revealed their thoughts that, “the operation that targeted Nord Stream was probably state sponsored, possibly because of the sophistication with which the perpetrators planted and detonated the explosives on the floor of the Baltic Sea without being detected,” the report writes.
The report goes on to mention that a European lawmaker “was told that more than 1,000 pounds of ‘military grade’ explosives were used by the perpetrators.”
Denmark, Sweden and Germany have all been conducting their own investigations into the sabotage.
Regardless of assurances that the U.S. was not involved, it has been publicly clear that multiple U.S. government officials, including Biden, have been against the Nord Stream project and have sought its non-operation.
The Times even includes Biden’s statement about the pipeline from before the start of the war, stating, “If Russia invades, that means tanks and troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, then there will be no longer [sic] a Nord Stream 2, we will bring an end to it.” It added his answer addressing how that would happen stating, “I promise you we’ll be able to do it.”
What the Times failed to mention is the series of corresponding assurances against the Nord Stream operation from people like US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland who said in early 2022, “I want to be clear with you today, if Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”
At around the same time, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price uttered a near verbatim statement, “I want to be very clear: if Russia invades Ukraine one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward… I’m not going to get into the specifics. We will work with Germany to ensure it does not move forward.”
Once the attack happened, more evidence of support emerged from people like Secretary of State Antony Blinken when he said the bombing represented “a tremendous opportunity.”
Other instances included a tweet from Member of the European Parliament and former Foreign Minister of Poland, Radek Sikorski, who posted a picture of the aftermath and wrote, “Thank you, USA.”
Republican Senator Mike Lee, in light of the Hersh report, tweeted he “can’t immediately rule out the suggestion that the U.S. blew up Nord Stream.”