CULVER CITY (CBSLA.com) — Questions persist following the death of Michael Hastings Tuesday, after reports that the award-winning journalist told WikiLeaks the government was watching him.
WikiLeaks tweeted a message to their millions of followers Wednesday stating that the 33-year-old author and war correspondent had contacted the organization’s lawyer to say he was being watched by the FBI.
Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.—
WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 19, 2013
“Michael Hastings was a journalist who definitely gave the government trouble, the Pentagon trouble, so if they were surveilling him it wouldn’t be that surprising,” said friend and fellow journalist Cenk Uygur.
A freelance photographer who captured footage of the fiery crash also recorded dashboard video that he believes shows Hastings speeding and running a red light before the crash.
Police have not yet confirmed that the person killed was Hastings because the body was reportedly burned beyond recognition.
One friend who declined to speak on camera said Hastings was very paranoid that he was being watched by the FBI, but that it is too soon to speculate on the conspiracy theories surrounding his death.
Uygur said he had no idea what the award-winning journalist’s state of mind was at the time of the crash, but described Hastings as a fierce journalist who will be missed.
He “just gave you all that he had, wore his heart on his sleeve,” said Uygur. “He was a terrific guy and we’re going to miss him greatly.”
Officials say it could take up to six weeks before the official cause of death is known.