I am not a believer in conspiracy theories, but the case of the death of Michael Hastings is becoming curiouser and curiouser.
Just hours before his death in a fiery crash in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Hastings sent an email to colleagues saying that the “feds” were investigating him and that he had to “go off the radar” for a while.
Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs told KTLA that he received an email from Hastings on Monday.
Biggs had known Hastings since 2008, when the journalist was embedded in his unit in Afghanistan.
“On Monday morning, I woke up and I got an email, and it’s very panicked,” Biggs said.
He was blind-copied on the email, which was sent to Hastings’ colleagues.
In part, it said that the feds were interviewing his close friends and associates, and that he was onto a big story and needed to get off the radar.
The FBI has denied that Hastings was ever under investigation.
“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,” he said.
The email was sent just before 1 p.m. on Monday, 15 hours before the deadly crash.
Breaking news photographer Scott Lane happened to be less than a mile from the scene of the crash, and shot video of the fiery aftermath.
Video taken from his car’s dashcam also caught what appeared to be Hastings’ Mercedes minutes before the crash, speeding through a red light.
More than 30 seconds pass after Hastings’ car goes by, and no other cars pass through the intersection.
“There’s no cars that are following him,” Lane said. “He flies by and 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds goes by… No cars are following him.”
Still, the conspiracy theories continued on the Internet, and Biggs said he just wants to know the truth about what happened to his friend.
“I’m going to be willing to help and do whatever I can and make sure that people look into this story and make sure they find out whatever happened.”
Even if no cars were following Hastings that early morning, that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel threatened nor does it mean that no one was tailing him. He may have lost his pursuer or the tail just gave up in trying to keep up with him.
Regardless, there are many unanswered questions surrounding this story and, given what we know about the administration’s mania for going after journalists who are the recipients of leaks, it is not impossible that pressure on Hastings was a contributing factor to his accident.
Much less likely is the idea that the car was tampered with, but it can’t be dismissed entirely. What story was he working on that he believed he should “go off the radar for a while,” perhaps believing he was in danger? We know he was working on the Jill Kelly/Petreaus story, but was there another, more explosive story that he was also pursuing?
We may never know. And, no matter what the authorities say, it is doubtful that the conspiracy theories about the death of Michael Hastings will disappear any time soon.