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The FBI Supposedly Searched Joe Biden's Hoard of Papers Hidden at the University of Delaware | Main | Democrats Have Just Two Big Concerns About 2024:
1. Joe Biden
2. Kamala Harris
February 17, 2023

Lee Smith: Seymour Hersh's Alleged Scoop on Biden's Demolition of the Nord Stream Pipeline Is a Big Miss

Smith doubts Sy Hersh's purported exposee -- doubting that Biden has the competence or the balls to attack a nuclear-armed nation.

He reminds us that this is the guy who urged Obama not to take out Bin Ladin.

Maybe the U.S. really did sabotage Russian pipelines, but it sure didn't happen the way Hersh describes it. Maybe it was the Russians who did it to themselves, or perhaps it was those with seemingly the strongest motive for hitting Vladimir Putin, the Ukrainians. There is not enough evidence yet to know. But we do know enough about Biden's public record to judge the story's premise, never mind its absurd details, as questionable.

As Vice President, Biden warned against killing Osama bin Laden, even with an elite Navy SEAL team tasked for the mission. But as president he ordered Navy regulars to blow up the piggy bank of a state with a large nuclear arsenal? Biden let a Chinese spy balloon tour the American homeland, crossing over several sensitive sites, but he sucker-punched Putin in Russia's backyard? Hard as it may be to believe, the big takeaway from the piece is just that: Joe Biden is one tough hombre. To conclude, Hersh writes:

The source had a much more streetwise view of Biden's decision to sabotage more than 1500 miles of Gazprom pipeline as winter approached. "Well," he said, speaking of the President, "I gotta admit the guy has a pair of balls.He said he was going to do it, and he did."

Hersh's source wanted readers to believe that despite seeming like a pensioner in steep cognitive decline, Biden is such a hard-charging defender of democracy that he bested even Putin in the black arts. Americans, thank your lucky stars that your security is in the rough-hewn hands of Dark Brandon.

One former senior intelligence official I spoke with described the Hersh piece as "Steele Dossier-quality garbage." Journalists say the Hersh story was rejected by several publications before he decided to publish it on his own Substack. The issue was apparently that the story was single-sourced, but the real problem seems to be something else.

Smith notes that Sy Hersh has a long hitory of being an easy mark for a "source" with a sensationalistic, but completely fictional, story to tell. See the story for the details on the much-bamboozled Sy Hersh.

He documents more Hersh blunders before noting that the leftwing media publishes Hersch's dubious claims when they advance Regime interests -- such as undermining Republican presidents -- but then get a case of We Need More Than One Source when his claims threaten a Democrat.

It appears that editors will support Hersh's work when it serves the interests of the party they support, the Democrats, whether those stories are true or not.

Smith says that Hersch is deliberately, or grossly negligently, misquoting Biden at a press conference to claim that Biden essentially admitted he intended to blow up the pipeline.

Hersh's framework is wrong. To advance the theory that Biden sabotaged the pipelines, he cites as evidence a press conference in which the president boasted that he'd terminate Nord Stream 2. Hersh's source claims Biden had said "that we knew how to do it" -- i.e., destroy the pipeline.

But Biden didn't say that. Hersh was too lazy to do his own fact-checking, even though he links to a video of the press conference. Biden said that if the Russians invade, "we will bring an end to it." After a reporter asked how that was possible since NS2 is a German project, Biden said "I promise you we will be able to do it."

I dunno. While Hersh is guilty of getting the wording wrong, that still shows Biden talking about "ending" the pipeline.

Perhaps he meant through sanctions. But maybe he didn't mean that.

In one of the weakest and lefty-conspiracy-theorist parts of Hersch's piece, he claimed that Biden and America had always wanted to stop the pipeline. The implication Hersh makes is that the American security establishment was always looking for a reason to blow up the pipelines, and just seized upon the invasion of Ukraine as a pretext to do it.

He doesn't actually say that but the implication is thick as bubblegum.

And this, it should be noted, tracks perfectly with the lefty reading of the Global War on Terror -- America had always had a plan to take over the Islamic world. 9/11 was just the pretext we needed to do so. (Which gives rise to the next conspiracy theory: that America actually permitted, or even executed, 9/11 just so that we could put our "invade-the-Islamic-world' plans into action.)

The fact that this story confirms Sy Hersh's paranoid beliefs about the American security apparatus almost certainly made Hersh eager to believe it, even with only a single source telling him this tale.

That's my own complaint about Hersch. Smith rebuts Hersch's claim that Biden was "always" looking for a reason to stop the pipeline. Indeed, he points out that Trump laid sanctions against the pipeline -- which Biden undid.

That's not "always" being opposed to the pipeline.

For the Germans, the prospect of extending their industrial domination for another generation was so heady that when Trump warned at the 2018 U.N. general assembly that Germany would soon become entirely dependent on Russian energy unless it changed course, German diplomats laughed haughtily. Trump was referring to Nord Stream 2. But because NS2 promised to shower wealth and prestige on Merkel's patrons and clients, the Biden White House lifted sanctions and gilded the outgoing chancellor's [Angela Merkel's] career.

Smith points out that while ultrahawk Victoria Nuland opposed the pipeline, Biden obviously did not, as he undid Trump's sanctions that were preventing its completion.

He says that Biden's Tough Guy talk about "ending" Nord Stream 2 was intended to defend his previous decision to end Trump's sanctions and permit the pipeline -- claiming that he could stop it at any time. Smith disputes the reading that Biden was promising to actually demolish the pipeline.

Outside of a few reporters from conservative outfits, the press treats him like a kindly grandfather in his dotage. He's not used to real questions. So when asked to answer one, he snapped back in characteristic fashion, with tough talk --"I promise you we will be able to do it." It seems that all he meant was that the U.S. would reimpose sanctions. But as even Ukrainian president Volodomyr Zelensky had told the White House, sanctions would be worthless after a Russian invasion. By lifting sanctions on NS2, Biden had forfeited the only deterrence he had to keep the Russians from crossing the border, and even the pro-Biden press knew it. So Biden resorted to empty threats--Just let Putin try it.

Smith concludes that Trump was right about needing to keep sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and Biden was wrong to lift them. And that Biden's lifting of the sanctions was in fact what permitted Putin to invade Ukraine, because Putin believed that the pipeline guaranteed that Europe would be dependent on Russian natural gas, and that Europe would therefore reluctantly bless Russia's annexation of that country.

His conclusion:

There is indeed a scandal that involves Biden and Russian pipelines, but it's not the one Seymour Hersh wrote about. It's simply this: a venal and careless old man was so obsessed with undoing his predecessor's work that he greenlighted a war in Europe with consequences that are likely to impact how Americans live for years to come.

Read the whole thing, which is general advice for any Lee Smith column.

I don't know, though. The story Hersh's single source told him is very detailed, which makes it, as Tucker Carlson said, "impossible to not be true."

But someone could have just made up his own theory about how it was done, making guesses about bombs being planted during the naval wargames, and tossing in other plausible details ("Norway did the scouting for where to plant the bombs") which, while plausible, were in fact entirely invented, and then sold this to Hersh as facts, when in fact it's all just speculation plus a couple of weeks' research for plausible background details.

Commenters here pointed out, very incisively*, "Dracula is 'very detailed' too -- does that make it true as well?"

* I didn't even intend that toothsome pun.

digg this
posted by Ace at 04:49 PM

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