The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) warned about possible attacks on Russia’s Nord Stream natural gas pipelines weeks before they were targeted in an apparent act of sabotage.
The news of the CIA’s forewarning, which emerged in the German media, comes amid speculation about who is responsible for the attack.
CIA gave advance warning of Nord Stream attack
The German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that German officials received a “strategic warning” from American spies in June.
The Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines started leaking natural gas this week as seismologists observed explosions in the Baltic Sea. While few appear to believe the leaks are accidental, the United States and its European allies have refrained from pointing fingers.
U.S. officials have cautioned against jumping to conclusions about who is responsible, the New York Times reported, with officials telling the paper that damage to the pipelines could undermine Vladimir Putin’s leverage over Europe.
Putin has been withholding natural gas from the continent, causing a major energy crisis that has tested its support for Ukraine, which has been at war with Russia for months.
While many are skeptical that Putin would target his own infrastructure, some say he is going to extreme lengths to send a message. Former CIA director John Brennan is among those who have not hesitated to blame Russia, which has dismissed “stupid” speculation of its role.
Was it Russia? Biden?
Speculation of the Biden administration’s involvement picked up after a Polish politician thanked the United States for the leak.
Then, past comments from President Biden resurfaced in which he warned that the U.S. would shut down Nord Stream 2 in the event Russia invaded Ukraine.
“We will bring an end to it,” Biden said. “I promise you: We will be able to do it.”
The Biden administration has dismissed “preposterous” theories of U.S. responsibility as the product of Russian “disinformation.”
Whether Putin, Biden, or some other figure is to blame, the leak has raised fears of escalation between the U.S. and Russia, as well as immediate environmental concerns.