Michael Hastings wrote an email on Monday to close friends saying that he was onto a big story and going off the radar for a while, and within hours the Rolling Stone journalist would be dead in a fiery one-car crash.
Conspiracy theorists have speculated that Hastings’ death does seem like an accident, that the timing of the accident with a “big story” he was working on about the CIA was too curious. Then there were the witness reports that said it sounded as if a bomb went off when his car hit a tree near Los Angeles and burst into flames.
An email Michael Hasings sent 15 hours before his death only adds fuel to the conspiracy theories. Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs told KTLA that Hastings sent an email warnings friend and colleagues of a federal investigation. He also said he had latched onto a big story and would need to lay low.
“It alarmed me very much,” Biggs said. “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.”
Hastings’ reporting had gotten him in trouble before. After his 2010 Rolling Stone profile on Gen. Stanley McChrystal led to the dismissal of the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Hastings received death threats from one of McChrystal’s staffers.
In his book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan, Michael Hastings recalled the incident.
“We’ll hunt you down and kill you if we don’t like what you write,” the staffer threatened, according to Hastings, who responded: “Well, I get death threats like that about once a year, so no worries.”
Evidence seems to back up the police’s ruling that no foul play was involved. Video from the scene, shot by a local news cameraman who happened to be in the area, showed Michael Hastings speeding through a red light minutes before the crash. The cameraman said there were no other cars around and Hastings was not being chased.