The last year of Michael Hastings life saw him at the peak of his profession writing a series of articles criticizing the Obama administration ranging from their illegal wire taps on American journalist, the NSA data collection scandal, and Obama’s kill list of suspected terrorists.
“Why Democrats love to Spy on Americans” was printed by Buzzfeed June 1, 2013. This would be the last article published by Hastings who was still working on a profile piece about the CIA director John Brennan. Hastings had learned that Brennan was the man behind the wire taps on journalists and became vocal of the violation of the 1st amendment to the constitution. Earlier that year it was revealed that 20 journalists for the Associated Press had their phone records subpoenaed by the DOJ. After the Edward Snowden NSA leaks it was obvious that the DOJ already had the records they were seeking.
In the days leading up to his death Michael had told close friends and a neighbor that he believed that he was also being watching and having his calls recorded.
Michael’s behavior was becoming unhinged to the point his older brother, Jonathan Hastings, flew from New York to LA in an effort to have Michael put himself into rehab. Except for a brief relapse during the 2012 re-election campaign of Barack Obama, Michael had been sober for over a decade. The only two vices that were known to anyone was a prescription for medical Marijuana issued by the state of California to treat PTSD, caused by years of war coverage in Iraq and Afghanistan and the death of his fiancée Andrea Parhamovich. The second drug is no stranger to people who work in journalism, Adderall. This had become the drug of choice for writers, especially those who work on a deadline. A prescription drug that is usually handed out to young adults during high school or college years, Adderall becomes the means to write a paper at the last minute overnight later being transferred to future jobs like journalism.
After Michael’s death his brother was reported to have said to the police “don’t be surprised if you find cocaine in there” referring to Michael’s apartment. Amphetamines were the only stimulant mentioned in the autopsy report and there was no mention of illegal drugs being found in Michael’s apartment.
The fake news media of the time also made allegations of Michael relapsing to alcohol; one video of the accident focuses on a beer bottle lying in the grass near the car wreck. There was no alcohol found in Michael’s system after the crash.
The full LAPD autopsy report can be found here: https://thecollapseexperiment.com/2022/01/13/michael-hastings-coroner-report-lapd/
The Day before the accident Michael wrote an email to friends and co-workers at 1pm, 15 hours before the crash:
Hey (redacted names)- The Feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates”. Perhaps if the authorities arrive “BuzzFeed GQ” or HQ may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news gathering practices or related journalism issues.
Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the radar for a bit.
All the best, and hope to see you soon.
Staff SGT Joseph Biggs was blind copied the email and grew concerned when he read it. Michael and Biggs had met in 2008 while Michael was in Afghanistan, they stayed in touch. Biggs said in an interview that he wanted to know what really happened and learn who was responsible for Hastings’ death. It is unclear who else was sent the email and no one has come forward as being interviewed by the FBI regarding Hastings before his death.
A few hours before Hastings died, he had also contacted Wikileaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson saying that the FBI was investigating him.
Around 12:30 AM on June 18 Hastings had gone to his neighbor asking to borrow their car. Hastings said that he thought his had been tampered with and that he didn’t trust driving it. Michael also said that he needed to get out of town. The neighbor declined saying that their car needed some work and they didn’t trust lending it out. Jonathan Hastings told police that Michael had gone to bed and fallen asleep around 12:30AM and that he must have slipped out of the house shortly after wards.
It is unclear what happened between 12:30AM and 4:20AM. Michael had left at some point and in four hours’ time he would have been able to get out of LA. Instead, he is seen driving through a red light at 4:17AM by a dash cam in a car driven by a “nightcrawler,” a photographer who works nights taking pictures for the morning editions of newspapers. 2 minutes and 30 seconds later, the nightcrawler arrives on the scene of the accident asking a witness if the driver is still inside. At no point was there a car seen following Michael through the intersection. It doesn’t not appear that he was being followed at that time, but that does not mean he wasn’t being followed before.
The car Hastings was driving was a new 2013 Mercedes C250 coupe. A handful of Internet investigators spread a false rumor that there had been a recall on this model car due to throttle problems and the accelerator sticking. There have been several recalls on this year, make and model of car but none of them included the throttle or a problem with acceleration. Most of the recalls involved airbags but there were two in particular that caught my attention. In 2017 the C250 Coupe was recalled for steering issues. The Mercedes website stated “the steering coupling connection bolt may have been insufficiently tightened possibly resulting in a loss of steering.” Then there was the interesting 2019 recall for a communication software issue. I could not find any details on what this was pertaining to or what it could result in, but with all of the theories that the car was taken over by remote control, well a recall like this makes you wonder.
There has been a lot of talks about the car over the years. The make and model of the car made it susceptible to being hacked. According to the theory due to blue tooth or internet access to the car’s computer system a hacker could have taken over the brakes, acceleration, and steering. Some people suggest that there would have to be direct access to the computer through the access port located under the dashboard but there are others who say otherwise.
On episode 1292 of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, he asked Lex Fridman an MIT scientist that works on self-driving cars, if it was possible for Michael Hastings car to have been taken over by remote control and crashed into a tree at high speeds. Lex, being a man of few and carefully chosen words replied “yes” and followed it up by saying that it was highly unlikely and that there are easier ways to kill someone.
Fridman was not the only person to say that the possibility of a hacking assassination was possible. Richard Clarke is a former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure protection, and Counter-terrorism. He also worked for the state department under Ronald Reagan and lead counter-terrorism efforts under presidents Bush Sr. Clinton, and W. Bush while also serving as a special adviser on Counter-terrorism to W. Bush. “What we know about the single vehicle crash is consonant with a car cyber-attack.” During an interview with the Huffington Post Clarke stated “There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers know how to remotely seize control of a car.” He went on to explain further. “What has been revealed as a result of some research at universities is that it’s relatively easy to hack your way into the control system of a car, and to do such things as cause acceleration when the driver doesn’t want acceleration, to throw on the brakes when the driver doesn’t want the brakes on, to launch an air bag,” Clarke told The Huffington Post. “You can do some really highly destructive things now, through hacking a car, and it’s not that hard.”
“So, if there were a cyber-attack on the car — and I’m not saying there was,” Clarke added, “I think whoever did it would probably get away with it.”
Professor Steven Savage at the university of California San Diego expressed concerns of hacked cars showing that not only could they easily be hacked if physically manipulated but that they could be controlled from 4000 miles away.
The idea for assassinating people through remote control cars has been around for a while. In the 2011 movie Killer Elite starring Jason Statham, a group of mercenaries are hired to kill former SAS operatives but they have to make it look like an accident. One of these murders is carried out by taking control of the car’s steering and driving the vehicle head on into a tractor trailer. The story, based on the book The Feather Men by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, takes place in 1980.
Seconds before the accident eye witnesses and surveillance footage heard and caught an explosion from the car before it hit the tree. Sparks were seen coming from under the vehicle. Upon impact the front drivers side tire and the motor were ejected from the rest of the car. This has led to some of the least plausible theories such as, a car bomb and a drone strike. Once the investigation of the crash was finished there was no evidence of a bomb or explosives used in the car.
The sparks under the car are the easiest to explain considering they could have been anything hanging underneath the car from the exhaust system to debris caught under the car. How likely is it for a brand-new exhaust system to be hanging or loose from the carriage? It depends on how he was driving before then and we don’t know what Michael was doing for over three hours before the crash. LAPD didn’t find any explosive residue or bomb fragments on the scene.
I did have a conversation with a few mechanics about the possibility of the motor being thrown 50-60 yards from the crash. I was told that if it was a tree and they were driving fast enough it could have ripped the motor from the mount. Although, I was also told that it would be less likely if it was front wheel drive. The C250 is rear wheel drive.
The majority of the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Michael Hastings can be followed back to one person, a reporter Kimberly Dvorak, the national security correspondent of the Examiner. She would appear on San Diego’s channel 6 news with evidence that had been released but there was usually some false claimed added to the story. While Dvorak was responsible for the release of the 911 calls and surveillance footage that had never before been seen by the public her reporting would drift off to other conspiracies that had nothing to do with the accident.
Dvorak was responsible for the rumor that the motor of the car was found behind the accident instead of in front, which is easily debunked when anyone watches the footage of the wreckage immediately after the crash. She also reported that Hastings’s body was cremated without approval of the family. Members of the family immediately released a statement that this was not true and they requested Michael be cremated. Dvorak was responsible for the rumor of a car bomb, or possible drone strike, from the low-quality footage she discovered of the accident even though the on-scene footage following the crash do not back up those claims.
The investigative pieces that Dvorak did on the death of Michael Hastings ended up doing more harm than good. Instead of following the evidence she continued on a path of trusting some gut feeling and putting theories out into the public that only made the real evidence look less credible than it was.
There were other journalists who were doing their job. In July of 2013 a lawsuit was filed against the FBI by journalist Jason Leopold when a FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) request was ignored after the 20 days they are to be responded to. 3 months later a highly redacted 21-page file was released on Michael Hastings. The file appeared to have been started after his profile on American POW Bowe Bergdahl was published in Rolling Stone Magazine. However, further examination of the file also mentions Hastings’s article on General McChrystal in 2010, three years earlier. There wasn’t much about Hastings in the file, just a comment posted online about the story and the article itself. Attorney Jeffery Light said it was uncommon for the FBI to open such files on reporters.
The full document of the FBI FOIA request can be found at https://thecollapseexperiment.com/2022/01/12/foia-fbi-file-on-michael-hastings/