"At no time was journalist Michael Hastings ever under investigation by the FBI," L.A. Field Office spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told the Burlington Free Press on Thursday.
The L.A. Police Department said detectives have concluded no foul play was involved in the crash, also according to Burlington.
LAPD spokesman Richard French said detectives did not share with his office the reasons behind their conclusion that the crash was an accident.
More from Burlington:
The question about whether the FBI was looking into Hastings arose Wednesday after the website WikiLeaks posted a tweet that read: "Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him."
The site Thursday followed up with a second tweet: "It is not acceptable that the FBI was investigating yet another national security journalist, this time Michael Hastings."
But Eimiller, the FBI spokeswoman in L.A., categorically denied the reports.
When asked whether she was speaking just for her office or for the bureau period, she replied: "Period."
Private investigator Paul Huebl asks: Was Michael Hastings Running for His Life When He Crashed?
It certainly appears he was driving at a very high rate of speed, for whatever reason. Here's a purported eyewitness account sent to Yahoo:
I was stopped at the light at Santa Monica [Boulevard], headed south on Highland [Avenue]. I looked down to turn my radio down, and this car just blasted past me through the red light—it shook my car. No telling how fast the driver was going. A taxi driver was in the far right lane and we looked at each other, both saying, "What the hell was that?"... By the time the light changed, I could only see the tail lights of the white Mercedes—it was probably past Willoughby by then which was the next red light that I got stopped at. The Mercedes was flying down Highland. The same cab driver pulled up to the light at Willoughby [Avenue] and I looked over at him again in disbelief. Right as I did, the cab driver said something to the effect of, "He didn't make it." The [Mercedes] was all the way south of Melrose [Avenue] at this point.
I looked down Highland and saw a giant fireball at the base of one of the palms that line the medians on Highland. It was surreal. Even from as far away as I was, I could see how violent an impact it had been. I live in the area so parked near my place and sprinted over the the scene of the accident. As I was running, a couple of workers from the service station at the corner of Melrose and Highland were also running over. In broken English, one of them and I traded stories of what we saw as we ran. From what I could understand, he saw the car come off the ground at some point—maybe when [it] crossed Melrose.
A Hancock Park resident was already spraying the car with his water hose when we got to it, but wasn't making any progress. The car was engulfed. I couldn't see inside it. Fire trucks and police cars were at the scene almost immediately, it seemed.
I stayed and watched firefighters extinguish the the blaze. Bummed a cigarette from a guy named Jeremy and traded stories about what we saw. He was right around Melrose and Highland when it happened. I gave a statement to police and walked home.
LA Weekly reports:
LAPD traffic investigators found the motor of the late-model Mercedes-Benz C250 coupe involved in the accident about 100 feet away from the car, the Weekly has learned, a clue that would indicate the vehicle was traveling at more than 60 miles an hour when it apparently veered out of control and struck a palm tree:
With the engine torn off, the gas lines would rupture and it would start a fire.
[...] The writer does have a history with alcohol and drugs, however. In his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story, Hastings says that he crashed a car in a drunk-driving accident when he was 19.[...]In Hastings' 2012 book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan, Hastings says a McChrystal staffer said to him, "We'll hunt you down and kill you if we don't like what you write."
In the same book, Hastings says he hasn't had a drink in 10 years.LA Weekly also notes:
We also were pointed to the "Boston Brakes" technique, in which the electronic management of a car, specifically a Mercedes, can be manipulated remotely to simulate an out-of-control accident. (Google it, or check this out.)