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“At no time was journalist Michael Hastings ever under investigation by the FBI,” says Lourdes Arocho, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles bureau, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
WikiLeaks published a tweet on Wednesday to its 1.9 million followers claiming that Hastings had “contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.”
The allegation was teased in a mysterious tweet four hours earlier, drawing online criticism that the organization was exploiting Hastings’ death as a means to stoke public paranoia, currently at an all-time high thanks to the revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Nevertheless, the L.A. coroner’s office, who finally identified Hasting’s badly burned remains on Thursday, concluded that no foul play was suspected in the incident.
On Wednesday night’s episode of Current TV’s The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur, a show on which Hastings regularly appeared, a clip was played of Hastings saying that “people in the special forces community” told him “all the time” that he was under surveillance.
“All you have going for you,” Hastings said in another recent clip re-aired on the show, “is that they have so much information, and they’re generally incompetent morons who are bothering surveilling me rather than people who are going to go blow up Boston. That’s their problem.”
A contributing editor at Rolling Stone and writer for GQ, Newsweek and BuzzFeed, among others, Hastings rose to prominence for his high-risk coverage of the Iraq War. His 2010 piece “The Runaway General” led directly to President Barack Obama‘s firing of then-U.S. Army general Stanley McChrystal.
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