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Michael Hastings: Car Crash or Assassination?

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

Hastings, 33, 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. Hastings wrote for Rolling Stone and the website BuzzFeed. 

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 Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., on June 3. 

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

The story about Kelley, Broadwell and the Petraeus affair would have been consistent with topics that Hastings has focused on during his reporting career. His unvarnished 2010 Rolling Stone profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, led to McChrystal's resignation. The story described the disdain McChrystal's staff showed for President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. 

Since Hasting's death early Tuesday, wild conspiracy theories have bloomed on the Internet implying that he was murdered by powerful forces wanting to silence him. 

On Wednesday night, the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks inserted itself into the story, publishing a message on Twitter that Hasting had contacted a lawyer for the organization hours before his car smashed into a tree on North Highland Avenue in Los Angeles. 

The message read: "Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him."







HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KTLA) — The investigation continued on Wednesday into a fiery car crash in Hollywood that killed award-winning journalist Michael Hastings.

Hastings, 33, was perhaps best known for a Rolling Stone article that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.


Michael Hastings

The coroner’s office had yet to identify the victim, but both Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed, where Hastings worked most recently, reported that it was him.

The solo-vehicle crash happened near the intersection of Highland and Melrose avenues around 4:15 a.m., according to the LAPD.

Hastings’ Mercedes-Benz slammed into a tree and caught fire.

“I was just coming northbound on Highland and I seen a car going really fast, and all of a sudden I seen it jackknife,” said Luis Cortez, who witnessed the wreck.

“I just seen parts fly everywhere and I slammed on my brakes and stopped and tried to call 911,” Cortez added.

The engine of the vehicle was found in a yard about 100 feet away.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Coroner’s officials said the body was too badly burned to make an immediate identification.

Police were investigating the possibility that speed may have been a factor in the crash.

Meantime, friends, family and colleagues were trying to come to terms with the news, and to offer some insight into Hastings’ life.

BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith issued a statement on Tuesday, saying his team was “shocked and devastated by the news.”

“Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered, from wars to politicians,” Smith said.

“He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him there are great stories that will go untold,” he said.

Friends said that, because of the nature of Hastings’ work, he often led a very paranoid lifestyle.

“A lot of his friends were worried that he was in a very agitated state, yes. No question, people were concerned,” said Cenk Uygur, host of “The Young Turks.”

“He was incredibly tense and very worried and was concerned that the government was looking in on his material,” he said.













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the very nano second i heard the news my first thought was someone took him out. this sounds very similar to another journalist out that way and it seems like the same type scenario.



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For most people, computer security means just that: Keeping viruses off your desktop or laptop, your PC or your Mac.

But when Tadayoshi Kohno thinks of computers and security, he thinks about the vulnerabilities inherent in a whole range of devices that are increasingly connected wirelessly to the Internet, to cellphones or to each other.

A computer scientist at the University of Washington, Kohno has proved that you can hack and take over the circuitry of a pacemaker, an implantable defibrillator, a child's toy, a mileage-tracking device for runners, and — perhaps most chilling of all — a car.

Kohno, 34, is so good at what he does that government regulators and manufacturers habitually beat a path to his door, in the UW's computer science and engineering department, where he is an associate professor.

Kohno will be featured Wednesday on PBS's NOVA scienceNOW, in an episode that examines whether science can help solve crime.

Appearing at the end of the hourlong show, Kohno demonstrates how he hacks into a car — opening its doors, starting the engine, and then, dramatically, taking control of its brakes to bring the vehicle to a skidding stop.

"Every system out there could be compromised in some way, by some adversary," Kohno said. "My biggest concern about the future is we're going to have this ubiquitous 'Internet of things,' but we haven't thought adequately about computer security."

At the UW, Kohno plays a kind of "what-if" game with his colleagues, trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys by imagining how all kinds of devices that could be hacked and used for malicious intent.

The boyish scientist, who dresses like a student, describes his work as "very fun."

"Yoshi has been on our radar for a while," said Julia Cort, executive producer of NOVA scienceNOW. "What he's discovering is going to be so surprising to some people — he's hunting down these weaknesses in systems we have all around us."

Kohno has published numerous papers and received several awards, including a Sloan Research Fellowship and a MIT Technology Review Young Innovator Award. He's been at the UW since 2006. He's quick to point out that many of the risks he investigates are somewhat theoretical, even though they make for good TV.

"There's no such thing as perfect security, and no such thing as insecurity," he said. "The question is, is this system sufficiently secure for my purposes?"

Effects of his research

Kohno shared his research about car-hacking, published with colleagues at the University of California-San Diego, with the auto industry and government regulators.

As a result, the U.S. Council for Automotive Research and SAE International, an automotive-engineering society, both created task forces to examine what should be done to make cars more secure, Kohno said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have taken notice, too.

"I've been very impressed with the response from the automotive industry, and very pleased by how much they're focusing on security these days," he said.

Kohno has proved that it's technically possible to hack into medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators.








Just something to think about. 

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I'm not usually on board with conspiracy theories, but this is just too much ... all of it.


Does it seem especially fishy, too, that a "breaking news photographer" just happened to be around at 4 o'clock in the morning when this happened ... to "confirm" nobody was following Hastings? Now, what are the chances of him being there just at that time? Really? Way too much is fishy about this entire thing.


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.”



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Some random reporter was there at that EXACT time to film the fact that no cars were following him?


His vehicle easily could have been tampered with, sounds like a setup. Sympathies to his family.

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an email he sent hours before his "accident"




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.






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Richard Clarke is not your typical conspiracy buff. He served as the head of counter-terrorism under presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.


Clarke became famous after warning the Bush administration in the summer of 2001 about a possible attack on the United States by Osama Bin Laden.


While that warning was ignored by the Bush White House, Clarke's recent statement about the death of reporter Michael Hastings is making news.


Clarke recently told The Huffington Post that a single-vehicle crash such as Hastings' recent car crash is "consistent with a car cyber attack."

"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 said. "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 — I think whoever did it would probably get away with it."



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