Snowden comments on Nord Stream revelations
The NSA whistleblower seemed skeptical of White House denials that the US was responsible
Edward Snowden, who exposed the US government’s mass surveillance program a decade ago, appeared unconvinced by Washington’s stringent denial on Wednesday that it had anything to do with the bombing of both Nord Stream pipelines.
The explosive story, which was published earlier in the day by the legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, described the September 2022 explosions as the work of US intelligence. He dutifully included the responses he received from the CIA and the White House, which denied everything and called the story “completely and utterly false” and “false and complete fiction,” respectively.
“Can you think of any examples from history of a secret operation that the White House was responsible for, but strongly denied?” Snowden tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. “Besides, you know, that little ‘mass surveillance’ kerfuffle.”
He attached a lede from an April 1961 news story, in which US Secretary of State Dean Rusk denied the Bay of Pigs had been “staged from American soil.” Rusk also told reporters that “the Cuban affair was one for the Cubans themselves to settle” but that the US was sympathetic to enemies of “Communist tyranny.”
Contrary to Rusk’s denials, the 1961 invasion was a CIA operation that used Cubans opposed to Fidel Castro’s government as proxies. In a social media post in May 2021, the US spy agency showcased a commemorative coin minted for “an anticipated (but never realized) Bay of Pigs victory.” The agency’s museum described the operation as “an unqualified disaster” which ended with most of the 1,400 invaders captured or killed within three days.
In addition to describing the details of the Nord Stream operation, Hersh’s article recalled the statements by US President Joe Biden and Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland suggesting the US would “bring an end” to the natural gas pipeline connecting Germany with Russia. After the explosions, Western media quickly accused Moscow of blowing up its own pipeline to somehow spite the US and its allies, though never offering any evidence to back up that claim.
Snowden’s “kerfuffle” was a reference to his own experience in 2013. The former CIA and National Security Agency (NSA) contractor handed over a trove of classified documents to several media outlets proving that the government was warrantlessly spying on Americans, in direct violation of US laws. The top intelligence officials testified in Congress that this was not the case, only for evidence to later prove their perjury.
Washington responded by charging Snowden with theft of government property and giving classified information to unauthorized persons, among other things. The US also revoked his passport, stranding him in Russia, where he eventually received political asylum.