Headline RoundupFebruary 8th, 2023

Journalist Accuses US of Sabotaging Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

AllSides Summary

The White House denied a Wednesday report alleging that the U.S. secretly bombed Europe’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline in September 2022 to limit Russia’s regional influence. 

The Details: Citing an anonymous “source with direct knowledge of the operational planning,” investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in a Substack post that U.S. Navy divers had attached remote-activated explosives to the underwater pipeline during a NATO training exercise in June. The U.S. then purportedly waited three months to trigger the explosives. A White House National Security Council spokesperson called the story “utterly false and complete fiction.”

For Context: The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, built to carry natural gas from Russia to Germany, was sabotaged on September 26, 2022. At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Western Europe and the U.S. for the sabotage. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov repeated this claim on February 2 in an interview with Russian state TV. 

The Controversy: This is not the first time Hersh’s foreign affairs reporting has been questioned. In 2015, Hersh published a 10,000-word report alleging that the Obama administration’s account of the killing of Osama bin Laden was false. Many journalists criticized Hersh’s claims, saying they defied “common sense” and were “riven with internal contradictions and inconsistencies.”

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was sparse across the spectrum, with most major outlets appearing to publish no coverage of Hersh’s story or the White House’s rebuttal. Some, like “Twitter Files publisher Matt Taibbipraised Hersh’s credentials on Wednesday, highlighting that he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1970.

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