It’s been six weeks since I published a report, based on anonymous sourcing, naming President Joe Biden as the official who ordered the mysterious destruction last September of Nord Stream 2, a new $11-billion pipeline that was scheduled to double the volume of natural gas delivered from Russia to Germany. The story gained traction in Germany and Western Europe, but was subject to a near media blackout in the US. Two weeks ago, after a visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Washington, US and German intelligence agencies attempted to add to the blackout by feeding the New York Times and the German weekly Die Zeit false cover stories to counter the report that Biden and US operatives were responsible for the pipelines’ destruction.
Press aides for the White House and Central Intelligence Agency have consistently denied that America was responsible for exploding the pipelines, and those pro forma denials were more than enough for the White House press corps. There is no evidence that any reporter assigned there has yet to ask the White House press secretary whether Biden had done what any serious leader would do: formally “task” the American intelligence community to conduct a deep investigation, with all of its assets, and find out just who had done the deed in the Baltic Sea. According to a source within the intelligence community, the president has not done so, nor will he. Why not? Because he knows the answer.
Sarah Miller—an energy expert and an editor at Energy Intelligence, which publishes leading trade journals—explained to me in an interview why the pipeline story has been big news in Germany and Western Europe. “The destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines in September led to a further surge of natural gas prices that were already six or more times pre-crisis levels,” she said. “Nord Stream was blown up in late September. German gas imports peaked a month later, in October, at 10 times pre-crisis levels. Electricity prices across Europe were pulled up, and governments spent as much as 800 billion euros, by some estimates, shielding households and businesses from the impact. Gas prices, reflecting the mild winter in Europe, have now fallen back to roughly a quarter of the October peak, but they are still between two and three times pre-crisis levels and are more than three times current US rates. Over the last year, German and other European manufacturers closed their most energy-intensive operations, such as fertilizer and glass production, and it’s unclear when, if ever, those plants will reopen. Europe is scrambling to get solar and wind capacity in place, but it may not come soon enough to save large chunks of German industry.” (Miller writes a blog on Medium.)
In early March, President Biden hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington. The trip included only two public events—a brief pro forma exchange of compliments between Biden and Scholz before the White House press corps, with no questions allowed; and a CNN interview with Scholz by Fareed Zakaria, who did not touch on the pipeline allegations. The chancellor had flown to Washington with no members of the German press on board, no formal dinner scheduled, and the two world leaders were not slated to conduct a press conference, as routinely happens at such high-profile meetings. Instead, it was later reported that Biden and Scholz had an 80-minute meeting, with no aides present for much of the time. There have been no statements or written understandings made public since then by either government, but I was told by someone with access to diplomatic intelligence that there was a discussion of the pipeline exposé and, as a result, certain elements in the Central Intelligence Agency were asked to prepare a cover story in collaboration with German intelligence that would provide the American and German press with an alternative version for the destruction of Nord Stream 2. In the words of the intelligence community, the agency was “to pulse the system” in an effort to discount the claim that Biden had ordered the pipelines’ destruction.