For those of us who remain fascinated by the extremely suspicious and bizarre circumstances surrounding the death of celebrated investigative journalist Michael Hastings, the following article from the LA Weekly is a must read. Amongst other things, we learn that he went to his neighbor’s apartment one night and asked to borrow her car because he suspected his was “being tampered with.” I’ll let the story speak for itself. From the LA Weekly:
In April, a man named Erin Walker Markland drove off a mountain road near Santa Cruz and was killed. The woman who had planned to marry him, Jordanna Thigpen, was devastated. For comfort, she turned to a man who had taken up residence next door. He had been through something similar — years before, his fiancée had been killed.
The landlord they both rented from had encouraged her to meet him, saying he was a writer. In their initial conversations, he was unusually modest. It was only when she Googled his name — Michael Hastings — that she learned he was a famous war correspondent.
His behavior grew increasingly erratic. Helicopters often circle over the hills, but Hastings believed there were more of them around whenever he was at home, keeping an eye on him. He came to believe his Mercedes was being tampered with. “Nothing I could say could console him,” Thigpen says.
One night in June, he came to Thigpen’s apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. She declined, telling him her car was having mechanical problems.
“He was scared, and he wanted to leave town,” she says.
The next day, around 11:15 a.m., she got a call from her landlord, who told her Hastings had died early that morning. His car had crashed into a palm tree at 75 mph and exploded in a ball of fire.
He was most famous for “The Runaway General,” the Rolling Stone piece that ended the career of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of theAfghanistan war. Hastings had built a reputation as a fearless disrupter of the cozy ways of Washington, gleefully calling bullshit on government hacks and colleagues alike. He was loved and admired, hated and feared.
The day before he died, he’d warned colleagues in an email that he was being investigated by the FBI. He also said he was onto a “big story,” and would be going off the radar. Almost inevitably, his death — in a fiery, single-car crash, at 4:20 a.m. on June 18 — resulted in a swarm of conspiracy theories.
In the school paper, Hastings compared the principal to Jabba the Hut. He ran for class president on an anti-administration platform. (He won.) And he was suspended and removed from the student council when he used the word “shagadelic” in the morning announcements.
He did have his moments. Hastings got into an obscenity-laced email battle with Hillary Clinton’s spokesman over Benghazi, then published the exchange. He also got in trouble when he reported on an off-the-record drinks session between Obama and campaign reporters. Hastings argued that the reception was fair game and that only the president’s remarks were off the record. That’s not how the Obama campaign saw it, nor many in the press. The resulting furor came to be called, jokingly, “The Battle of Hastings.”
“Any leeway or sympathy I ever give to the Obama White House, I take back forever,” he said on Huffpost Live, on May 14.