Michael Hastings, the BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone reporter killed in a car crash June 18, sent an email to friends warning that the “Feds are interviewing my ‘close friends and associates.’” In the email, published by Los Angeles television station KTLA 5 Friday, Hastings also said he was “onto a big story, and need to go off the radar for a bit.”
Hastings was killed the next day in an early-morning solo-car crash in Los Angeles.
The email is sure to fuel now-widespread conspiracy theories alleging foul play in Hastings’ death.
The journalist was best known for a 2010 Rolling Stone article about U.S. Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, then the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, that quoted the general candidly criticizing President Barack Obama. The story led to McChrystal’s resignation.
“Perhaps if the authorities arrive at ‘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, which was sent to his colleagues.
Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs, who knew Hastings since 2008, when the reporter was embedded in his unit in Afghanistan, told KTLA that he was afraid for Hastings when he received the email, sent June 17 just before 1 p.m. local time.
“It alarmed me very much,” Biggs told the broadcaster. “I just said it doesn’t seem like him. I don’t know, I just had this gut feeling, and it just really bothered me.”
Online commenters have theorized for days that Hastings’ Mercedes coupe was sabotaged in some way or that he was chased by a remote driving device.