In an email sent hours before his death in a fiery single-car crash in Los Angeles Tuesday, award-winning journalist Michael Hastings reportedly wrote that he was working on a “big story” and was going to “go off the radar for a bit.”
The subject of the email was “FBI investigation re: NSA,” KTLA reports.
A copy of the email, sent on Monday, was reportedly provided to KTLA by Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs, who was a recipient of the email.
“Hey [redacted copy], the Feds are interviewing my ‘close friends and associates.’ Perhaps if authorities arrive ‘BuzzFeed GQ’, er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues,” Hastings wrote in the email.
“Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the radar for a bit,” he added. “All the best, and hope to see you all soon.” He signed the letter, “Michael.”
Roughly 15 hours later, 33-year-old Hastings was dead.
The new revelation will certainly do nothing to tone down the unfounded conspiracy theories that have been wildly spreading across the Internet. Many of the theories have implied that the journalist was murdered by powerful forces within the U.S. government.
“Hastings was researching a story about a privacy lawsuit brought by Florida [socialite] Jill Kelley against the Department of Defense and the FBI,” the LA Times reports.
He was supposed to meet with a representative of Kelley next week in L.A. to discuss the case, a source close to Kelley told the Times.
Sgt. Biggs told KTLA Hastings’ email “alarmed me very much…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.”
“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,” Biggs added.
WikiLeaks on Wednesday also alleged on Twitter that Hastings contacted a lawyer with the organization hours before his death.
“Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him,” the group wrote on Twitter.
The FBI denies that they were ever investigating Hastings.
Meanwhile, investigators are still looking into what caused Hastings to crash on Tuesday. They are trying to find out if the car had a technical problem or if he may have had a medical condition that caused him to wreck.
Hastings wrote for BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone. He was arguably best known for his 2010 Rolling Stone profile that led to Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation.
This story has been updated.