The Federal Bureau of Investigation is sticking to its claim that it was not investigating Michael Hastings at the time of his death.
On Tuesday the FBI posted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) release regarding Hastings, the BuzzFeed reporter who died in a fiery car crash in June at the age of 33. Just hours before his death, Hastings had sent an email to his colleagues expressing concern that federal authorities were interviewing his family and friends, as the Los Angeles TV station KTLA reported.
On its website, the bureau released what it says is the only material found in FBI records that mention Hastings: a three-page June 2012 document and its attachments, 21 pages in all. The widely redacted document concerns a 2010 Hastings article in Rolling Stone about Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. Army soldier who was captured by the Taliban. The Rolling Stone article is included as an attachment with the document, which refers to Hastings’ work as “controversial.” The bureau maintains that it does not have a file on Hastings himself, and that Hastings was not under investigation.
“No FBI records indicate an investigative interest in Hastings,” the bureau said on its website.
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The release follows FOIA requests from multiple media outlets, including International Business Times. Earlier this month, the FBI released the three-page document to Al Jazeera and Ryan Shapiro, a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, following a joint lawsuit. Al Jazeera at the time reported that the document pertained to a criminal investigation but that the FBI declined to elaborate.
Journalists can appeal the FOIA release within 60 days, according to an email sent by David Sobonya, a legal specialist for the FBI’s Records Management Division.
Hastings, whose 2010 Rolling Stone article led to the firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, had his share of enemies. His mysterious death set off a wave of conspiracy theories.
The FBI document and attachments can be seen here on the FBI’s electronic reading room, also known as “The Vault.”