Earlier this week, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that supplies natural gas from Russia to European customers suffered serious damage in what many believe was an act of sabotage. Explosions were detected before three separate leaks began venting vast amounts of gas from the damaged pipeline.
We don’t know yet who sabotaged the pipeline (we’re not even certain it was sabotaged), but immediately, a number of popular far-right voices blamed the United States. Yes, the United States. On Tuesday night, Tucker Carlson—host of the most popular cable news program in the country—not only downplayed the idea that Russia was responsible for the damage, but raised the possibility that the Biden administration executed the attack.
What was Carlson’s case for such a remarkable claim? A Washington Post analysis called it “shoddy,” and that’s charitable. He cited Joe Biden’s promise to “bring an end” to the pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine. He also named State Department official Victoria Nuland, who said in January, “If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”
Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk went even further than Carlson the following day, declaring that American intelligence agencies are “guilty until proven innocent.” Kirk also wondered aloud whether the damage to the pipelines was part of a “potential midterm-election operation.” Other right-wing voices picked up and amplified the same speculations.