Michael Hastings Death: LAPD Rules No Foul Play In Journalist's Crash

Nathan Francis

Michael Hastings died this week in a fiery one-car crash in Los Angeles, and despite conspiracy theories surrounding his death the Los Angeles Police Department found there was no foul play.

On Thursday the Los Angeles coroner's office formally identified the body of Hastings, whose body was burnt beyond recognition in the crash that took place early Tuesday. The coroner was able to match fingerprints that the FBI had on file, The Associated Press reported.

As conspiracy theories regarding the death of the political journalist arose, the LAPD told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that there appeared to be no foul play in the accident.

Michael Hastings had caused waves politically with his writing. His 2010 Rolling Stone profile on Gen. Stanley McChrystal caused controversy when the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan criticized President Obama. After the article was published McChrystal was summoned to the White House to meet with Obama and later resigned.

The article, which won the 2010 George Polk award for magazine reporting, also put a target on Hastings. He said afterward he 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.”

Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, remembered Hastings as a reporter who never shied away from controversial topics.

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.”

Just before his death, Michael Hastings reached out to WikiLeaks to inform them he was under investigation by the FBI.