Michael Hastings Crash Site Memorialized, Email Published
Flowers and notes adorn the tree where his Mercedes crashed; a message sent by the journalist to an acquaintance mentions "Feds" interviewing friends.
The site on Highland Avenue where Michael Hastings' Mercedes crashed early Tuesday morning has been turned into a memorial.
Bundles of flowers, a framed note, candles and an index card that read "we will pick up where you left off" were placed in the area in the days after Hastings death, photos show.
The 33-year-old journalist, who contributed national security-focused stories to Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed and authored two books, is best known for "The Runaway General," the feature story that eventually forced the resignation of the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.
An email that Hastings sent hours before his death to an acquaintance, Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs, was published by local news station KTLA on Friday. The message appears to reiterate what BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith had mentioned to Daily Intelligencer: that Hastings had expressed "concern" to those around him about an investigation.
"[T]he Feds are interviewing 'my close friends and associates.' Perhaps if the authorities arrive 'BuzzFeed GQ,' er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues," Hastings wrote in the email. "Also: I'm onto a big story, and need to go off the radat (sic) for a bit."
WikiLeaks had previously posted a note on Twitter stating that Hastings had contacted the lawyer for their organization, "saying that the FBI was investigating him." The FBI office based in Los Angeles released a statement on Thursday denying that any investigation of the reporter took place: "At no time was journalist Michael Hastings ever under investigation by the FBI."
Recently, Hastings was said to be researching the case of Jill Kelley, the woman involved in the story of the affair between Gen. David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell, a source had told The Los Angeles Times.
Although the nature of the journalist's death has lead to speculation, the Los Angeles Police Department has ruled that no foul play was suspected to be involved in the crash and multiple car experts have seconded that decision.