Conspiracy theories surrounding Hastings’ death abound
The internet is abound with conspiracy theories surrounding the death of journalist Michael Hastings in a fiery car crash Tuesday morning.
Hastings was famous for writing a Rolling Stone article which led to the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal in 2010, and for his scathing criticism of the surveillance state.
The 33-year-old journalist died in a wreck in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles earlier this week. The engine of his Mercedes was found 100 feet away and his body was burned beyond recognition.
Although social media sites like Reddit were already coming up with various theories hours after the crash, the internet erupted after Wikileaks tweeted that Hastings “contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.”
Referencing the Wikileaks tweet, TV host Cenk Uygur dedicated a segment of his show to Hastings, saying that the government “goes after journalists who reveal their secrets.”
“Michael Hastings certainly went and exposed some secrets the government did not want you to know,” Uygur said.
Uygur took to Twitter to clarify his views.
“Calling Hastings death conspiracy totally unsubstantiated,” he tweeted. “No evidence of that now. Implying it was perfectly normal is also weird.”
Others have gone much further. Predictably, Alex Jones’ Infowars announced that “evidence indicates that Michael Hastings was assassinated.” One website even suggested the government swapped Hastings’ car to hide damage from explosives.
For many conspiracy theorists, a major point of speculation are the sensitive stories Hastings was pursuing before his tragic death.
The LA Times reported that Hastings was researching a story involving Jill Kelley, the woman who played a key role in revealing the affair between General David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell.
Another source said Hastings was also looking into the imprisonment of Barrett Brown, a journalist with ties to the hacker group Anonymous.
The group pressuring for Brown’s release wrote that Hastings believed his calls with Barrett were being recorded, ominously suggesting that “the circumstances surrounding his death leave many questions unanswered.”
The FBI has denied that Hastings was ever under investigation. The LAPD has said that no foul play is suspected in Hastings’ death.
An investigation into the crash is underway.