Suspicious Deaths: Michael Hastings

Michael Hastings

Was the investigative journalist’s car hacked before he died in a fiery car accident?

UNCONFIRMED: Though one prominent man thinks it might have been

The death of journalist Michael Hastings has been a boon for conspiracy theorists. The Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed writer, who wrote the piece that forced Gen. Stanley McChrystal to resign, died last Tuesday in a fiery car accident in Los Angeles. Even though police have said they suspect no foul play, that hasn’t stopped the typically wild-eyed types from espousing all sorts of crazy ideas about who might have wanted Hastings dead.

Richard Clarke is not wild-eyed. He’s the former U.S. national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection and counter-terrorism. But he’s just thrown a huge chunk of raw meat to those who wish to see conspiracy in every newsworthy event.

Could your connected car get hacked?

Clarke recently told The Huffington Post that Hastings’ single-car crash is “consistent with a car cyberattack.” According to Clarke, “It’s relatively easy to hack your way into the control system of a car.” Once in, he said, “you can do some highly destructive things,” like brake when the driver doesn’t want to or release an air bag.

He went on to say that a car cyberattack would be nearly untraceable, even if Hasting’s Mercedes hadn’t nearly melted because of the fire’s extreme heat.

Clarke also said that the Los Angeles police weren’t sophisticated enough to determine if Hastings’ car had been hacked. MSN News reached out to the department for comment but has so far not heard back.

In his interview with the Post, Clarke was quick to point out that he wasn’t a conspiracy theorist. “I’ve spent most of my life knocking down conspiracy theories,” he said. Even so, his remarks are no doubt going to add fuel to the fires that are already burning online.

UPDATE: Staff Sergeant Joseph Biggs, who befriended Hastings when the reporter was embedded in Afghanistan in 2008, does not seem convinced that the journalist’s death was an accident. Biggs told Fox News that Hastings, who died in a fiery single-car accident, drove “like a grandma.” He said that Hastings’ latest story was his biggest yet, and involved the CIA. And Biggs also said that Hastings’ fiancée, fellow journalist Elise Jordan, vowed to “take down whoever did this.”

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