FBI insists Michael Hastings was not under investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Thursday that journalist Michael Hastings, who died in an auto crash this week, was never under investigation by the agency.
Hastings’ stories about figures in the military and intelligence community have fueled conspiracy theories, including that he was being followed and under FBI monitoring at the time of his death.
The bureau responded in a statement: “At no time was journalist Michael Hastings ever under investigation by the FBI.”
Officials still are trying to determine whether there was a mechanical problem with the car, if Hastings may have had a medical condition, or if he consumed substances that could have impaired his driving. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Video of the accident scene showed the car engulfed in flames. Law enforcement sources said the car appeared to be going at a high rate of speed but emphasized that the investigation was ongoing.
The death of the 33-year-old Hastings was announced by his employer, BuzzFeed. In a statement released Tuesday, BuzzFeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith said he and his team were “shocked and devastated by the news” of Hastings’ death.
During the weeks before he was killed in a car crash in Los Angeles, he was researching a story about a privacy lawsuit brought by Florida socialite Jill Kelley against the Department of Defense and the FBI.
Hastings was scheduled to meet with a representative of Kelley next week in Los Angeles to discuss the case, according to a person close to Kelley.
Kelley alleges that military officials and the FBI leaked her name to the media to discredit her after she reported receiving a stream of emails that were traced to Paula Broadwell, a biographer of former CIA director David H. Petraeus, according to a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., on June 3.
Hastings was best known for a 2010 Rolling Stone profile that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Hastings was a contributing editor at the magazine.
Petraeus resigned from the CIA after publicly admitting that he and Broadwell had carried on an extramarital affair.
At the time the article was published, McChrystal commanded all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. In the piece, he voiced open contempt for President Obama and administration policies. Soon after, McChrystal met with the president and tendered his resignation.
The article won the 2010 George Polk award for magazine reporting.
Hastings started writing for BuzzFeed and joined the organization’s Los Angeles bureau after it opened in October.