No Foul Play Suspected in Michael Hastings Death (Report)
The death of 33-year-old journalist Michael Hastings, who covered national security issues for Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed, has inspired speculation about the nature of his fatal car crash -- despite police officials indicating that it was an accident.
No foul play is suspected in Hastings' crash, which occurred on Highland Avenue on Tuesday morning when a Mercedes hit a tree, Los Angeles Police Department sources told The Los Angeles Times' Andrew Blankstein. Hastings was driving the vehicle, the L.A. coroner's office confirmed to the Times.
A day after the journalist's death, WikiLeaks fired up online conspiracy theorists with a tweet mentioning that Hastings had contacted "WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him."
BuzzFeed's editor, Ben Smith, confirmed to New York's Daily Intelligencer that Hastings had mentioned an FBI investigation recently."Before his death, Michael told a number of his friends and colleagues that he was concerned that he was under investigation," Smith said.
On Thursday, the FBI denied that it was investigating the reporter. "At no time was journalist Michael Hastings ever under investigation by the FBI," read a statement from the Los Angeles office of the agency.
Hastings, whose last article for BuzzFeed focused on the National Security Agency's spying scandal, was recently doing research for an article that centered on Jill Kelley, the Florida woman involved in the story of the affair between Gen. David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell, The Los Angeles Times separately reported.
Hastings has long covered powerful national security figures, most famously with his "The Runaway General" Rolling Stone feature that eventually forced the resignation of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal as the top commander in Afghanistan. He also authored two books, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan and I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story.