Michael Hastings: Journalist's Death Surrounded In Mystery, Conspiracy Theories

Nathan Francis

Michael Hastings died in a car crash in Los Angeles this week after his car hit a tree, but some people not believe it may not have been an accident.

Within hours of his death, internet theories were spawned saying that Hastings may have been targeted because of his political reporting, which was touching on several controversial issues. At the time of his death, the BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone reporter was working on stories including the National Security Agency and the CIA. It was also his Rolling Stone cover story that brought down U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

After the car driven by Michael Hastings crashed on Hollywood's Highland Avenue at close to 4:15 am Tuesday morning, witnesses said there was a loud explosion similar to a bomb exploding.

Twitter and Reddit were filled with conspiracy theories, but other publications chimed in. The International Business Times wrote that "some of the details surrounding the story [of Hastings' death] read like a poorly-written political thriller."

BuzzFeed's editor-in-chief, Ben Smith, remembered Hastings as a tough reporter who would take on the stories others were afraid to write.

Smith said: "He knew that there are certain truths that nobody has an interest in speaking, ones that will make you both your subjects and their enemies uncomfortable. They're stories that don't get told because nobody in power has much of an interest in telling them."

It was dangerous work. In his book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan, Michael Hastings noted that he once got a death threat from a McChrystal staffer.

"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."

WikiLeaks added to the conspiracy theories surrounding Michael Hastings' death on Wednesday night, tweeting:

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 19, 2013