In an email sent hours before his death in a single-car L.A. crash, journalist Michael Hastings wrote that his “close friends and associates” were being interviewed by the FBI and he was going to “go off the radar for a bit.”
According to the email, sent to KTLA, Hastings wrote he was working on a “big story” and was going to disappear. He told his colleagues that if the FBI came to interview them, they should have legal counsel present.
The subject of the email was “FBI Investigation re: NSA.” Hastings sent the email to his colleagues just before 1 p.m. Monday and blind-copied his friend, Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs.
Biggs supplied the email to KTLA and said he and Hastings met when the journalist was embedded with Biggs’ unit in Afghanistan in 2008, KTLA reported.
Hastings, 33, died about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday when his 2013 silver Mercedes slammed into a tree in Hancock Park and burst into flames. The car was going so fast, the engine was found more than 100 feet away from the crash, authorities said.
Since Hasting’s death, wild conspiracy theories have bloomed on the Internet, implying he was murdered by powerful forces wanting to silence him.
He was scheduled to meet with a Kelley representative next week in L.A. to discuss the case, according to a person close to Kelley. Hastings wrote for Rolling Stone and the website BuzzFeed.
On Wednesday night, the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks published a message on Twitter that Hastings had contacted a lawyer for the organization hours before his car smashed into a tree on North Highland Avenue in Los Angeles.
The message read: “Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Hastings was never under investigation by the agency.
The bureau responded in a statement: "At no time was journalist Michael Hastings ever under investigation by the FBI."
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Coroner's officials said they plan to conduct toxicology tests on Hastings, which could take weeks. They are also attempting to determine whether any health issues contributed to the crash.