Emails that journalist Michael Hastings wrote hours before his fatal, one-car crash indicated he was “onto a big story, and need to go of the radar for a bit,” according to a KTLA exclusive.
Hastings, 33, was allegedly in the middle of writing stories on the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency when he died suddenly Tuesday in a car crash. On Friday, police ruled the crash an accident. Investigators are still examining evidence to determine if the car could have had a mechanical problem or if Hastings suffered a medical issue leading up the crash.
Best known known for the Rolling Stone cover story that led to the firing of U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal., the Buzzfeed journalist allegedly thought he was the target of a federal probe. The FBI denies that claim.
He emailed colleagues Monday and blind copied an old friend, Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs, stating: “the Feds are interviewing my ‘close friends and associates.’ Perhaps if authorities arrive ‘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.”
Biggs told KTLA the email, sent just 15 hours before his death, “alarmed” him.
“I’m going to be willing to help and do whatever I can and make sure that people look into this story and make sure they find out whatever happened.”
Conspiracy theories circulated on the web in the wake of Hastings’ death.
"A warning to other journalists to not dig too deep," one Reddit user wrote. "Stick with the party line if you want a long, happy life."
Video taken from a dashcam belonging to breaking news photographer Scott Lane showed Hastings’ Mercedes blow through a red light minutes before the crash.
Crash photographer Scott Lane gathered footage of the blazing Mercedes. Lane said there didn’t appear to be any other vehicles out on the street.
“There’s no cars that are following him,” Lane said. “He flies by and 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds goes by… No cars are following him.”