CIA warned Germany about Nord Stream blast months ahead
A new report emerged saying the CIA had knowledge about the explosion that hit Nord Stream in September, informing Germany of the matter months ahead.
Reportedly, the CIA warned the German Federal Intelligence service, BND, about a potential attack that could hit the Nord Stream pipelines months ahead of the attack taking place in September 2022, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
Reportedly, anonymous intelligence officials told the newspaper that the CIA warned its German counterpart about the blasts in June and July 2022, at most two months before the explosions took place.
The BND was among numerous European intelligence agencies that were warned about the explosions beforehand.
The WSJ, citing intelligence sources familiar with the matter, reported that the CIA told Berlin that a "group" might have been preparing an attack on the pipeline.
In detail, the CIA gave information regarding three Ukrainian nationals trying to rent ships in countries bordering the Baltic Sea, such as Sweden, which is currently conducting its own investigation into the blast.
Furthermore, CIA director William Burns and national security adviser Jake Sullivan, among other senior US officials, were considering the possibility that Ukraine was behind the attack back in October. However, they did not declare what their assessment was based on.
After the report came out, senior Ukrainian officials tried to dismiss the issue and claimed that the government had nothing to do with the explosions.
"Although I enjoy collecting amusing conspiracy theories about [the Ukrainian] government, I have to say: [Ukraine] has nothing to do with the Baltic Sea mishap and has no information about "pro-[Ukraine] sabotage groups," said Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's top adviser.
Although I enjoy collecting amusing conspiracy theories about 🇺🇦 government, I have to say: 🇺🇦 has nothing to do with the Baltic Sea mishap and has no information about "pro-🇺🇦 sabotage groups". What happened to the Nord Stream pipelines? "They sank," as they say in RF itself...— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) March 7, 2023
Podolyak in a later tweet reiterated Western claims about Russia being behind the attack by implying that Moscow benefitted from the pipelines blowing up.
"The September mishaps on [Nord Stream 2] occurred amid [the Russian Forces'] attempts to 'freeze Europe' and scare it on the eve of winter," the Ukrainian presidential advisor claimed. "Prior to that, [the Russian Forces] attempted to block the [Nord Stream 2 pipeline] with breakdowns that it allegedly couldn't fix for months. So who benefited from the mishap?"
About motives & expectations. The September mishaps on NS2 occurred amid RF's attempts to "freeze Europe" & scare it on the eve of winter. Prior to that, RF attempted to block the NS2 with breakdowns that it allegedly couldn't fix for months. So who benefited from the mishap?— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) March 8, 2023
However, Xavier Moreau, an arms expert and geopolitical analyst from the French think tank Strapol told Russian news agency Sputnik that reports alleging the attacks were carried out by a group unaffiliated with any government were "ridiculous" and were designed to divert attention from accusations that the United States was behind the attack.
Similarly, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Sputnik that media reports about Nord Stream sabotage were part of a coordinated spread of disinformation and an attempt to push attention away from the real perpetrators.
He called for an investigation into the Nord Stream attacks; one where Russia would be a participant in the probe.
Moreover, the former Head of the French Military Mission at the United Nations, General Dominique Trinquand, said the fact that the pipeline belongs to a Russian company shows that Russia would not benefit from the explosion.
Read more: UN partners unwilling to cooperate on Nord Stream blast probe: Russia
This comes after the Federal Prosecutor's Office of Germany confirmed Wednesday that searches had been carried out on a ship that was allegedly carrying explosives to blow up the Nord Stream gas pipelines, adding that there is no evidence yet that a certain state was managing the operation.
"From January 18 to January 20, 2023, federal prosecutors searched the ship in connection with its suspicious lease. There is a suspicion that the ship in question could be used to transport explosive devices that exploded on September 26, 2022, on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea," the prosecutor's office told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Furthermore, the New York Times reported that US officials said they saw new intel that a "pro-Ukrainian group" sabotaged Nord Stream last year.
The United States National Security Council (NSC) said on Wednesday that it is unable to confirm the NYT report.
In a report that did not identify the source of the intelligence or the group involved, NYT said the US officials had no evidence implicating Zelensky in the pipeline bombing.
American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published a shocking article in February in which he claimed that the US and Norway were behind the bombing of the Nord Stream pipelines.
Western officials dismissed Hersh's reporting on the sabotage operation, while Russia vowed not to let the Nord Stream investigation go unnoticed.