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FBI says journalist Michael Hastings was not under investigation

LAPD also says no foul play appears to have been involved in the one-vehicle crash that killed Hastings. The reporter was known for an article leading to Gen. Stanley McChrystal's resignation.

June 20, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein and Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times
  • An LAPD officer investigates the scene of a fiery crash that killed journalist Michael Hastings. Hastings died when his vehicle crashed into a tree and caught fire in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.
An LAPD officer investigates the scene of a fiery crash that killed journalist… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

The FBI said Thursday that journalist Michael Hastings, who died in an auto crash this week, was never under investigation by the agency.

The bureau responded in a statement: "At no time was journalist Michael Hastings ever under investigation by the FBI."

The FBI's statement comes as officials with the Los Angeles Police Department said there appears to be no foul play in the one-vehicle accident that killed the 33-year-old early Tuesday morning in Los Angeles.

Officials still are trying to determine if the car had a mechanical problem, if Hastings may have had a medical condition or if he consumed substances that could have impaired his driving. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Video of the accident scene showed the car engulfed in flames. Law enforcement sources said that the car appeared to be going at a high rate of speed but emphasized that the investigation was ongoing.

During the weeks before he was killed in a car crash, Hastings was researching a story about a privacy lawsuit brought by Florida socialite Jill Kelley against the Department of Defense and the FBI.

Hastings was scheduled to meet with a representative of Kelley next week in Los Angeles to discuss the case, according to a person close to Kelley.

Kelley alleges that military officials and the FBI leaked her name to the media to discredit her after she reported receiving a stream of emails that were traced to Paula Broadwell, a biographer of former CIA director David H. Petraeus, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on June 3.

Petraeus resigned from the CIA after publicly admitting that he and Broadwell had had an extramarital affair.

Hastings was best known for a 2010 Rolling Stone profile that led to the resignation of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Hastings was a contributing editor at the magazine.

At the time the article was published, McChrystal commanded all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. In the piece, he voiced open contempt for President Obama and administration policies. Soon after, McChrystal met with the president and tendered his resignation.

Hastings started writing for BuzzFeed, a news and entertainment website, and joined the organization's Los Angeles bureau after it opened in October.

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

brian.bennett@latimes.com

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