Connections Between Michael Hastings, Edward Snowden and Barrett Brown—The War With the Security State
2013-08-08 0:00

By Christian Stork | WhoWhatWhy




At the time of his death in a mysterious one-car crash and explosion, journalist Michael Hastings was researching a story that threatened to expose powerful entities and government-connected figures. That story intersected with the work of two controversial government critics—the hacker Barrett Brown and the on-the-run surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Any probe into Hastings’s untimely death needs to take into account this complex but essential background.

But First, the Raw Facts

A little over 12 hours before his car was incinerated on an LA straightaway on June 18, 2013, Hastings sent out a short email headed, “FBI Investigation, re: NSA.” In it, he said that the FBI had been interviewing his “close friends and associates,” and advised the recipients — including colleagues at the website Buzzfeed — “[It] may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.” He added, “I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the radat [sic] for a bit.”


From: Michael Hastings

Date: Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Subject: FBI Investigation, re: NSA

To: [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED]

Hey [5 REDACTED WORDS] the Feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates.” Perhaps if the authorities arrive “Buzzfeed GQ”, er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.

Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the radat for a bit.

All the best, and hope to see you all soon.

Michael

The next day, Hastings went “off the radar” permanently.

Here is a video that shows a lateral view of Hastings’s speeding car just before it crashed. (It shows at about 0.07.)

Following publication of the email by KTLA, the FBI quickly denied that the Bureau was ever investigating Hastings.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation and ProjectPM — the research wiki that Brown was involved with — are in the process of filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to learn if indeed Hastings was the subject of an FBI probe.

The FBI denial notwithstanding, a number of clues indicate that the proximity of Hastings to Brown and the work of ProjectPM may have been what spawned the purported investigation in the first place.

Deep Background

When the FBI raided the Dallas home of journalist Barrett Brown in March 2012, the travails of the Vanity Fair and Guardian contributor didn’t get much ink — that is, until Michael Hastings published an exclusive on the Brown raid on Buzzfeed.

The story included a copy of the search warrant that revealed why the government was so interested in Brown: Along with colleagues at the research wiki he started, ProjectPM (PPM), Brown was looking into a legion of shadowy cybersecurity firms whose work for the government raised all sorts of questions about privacy and the rule of law.

Since Hastings was familiar with the government contractors listed in the search warrant, he was also potentially culpable in whatever “crimes” the feds believed Brown and PPM were guilty of. Is this why he was being investigated in the days before his fatal crash on June 18, 2013? By then, Hastings had established a reputation as a fearless muckraker, whose stories often stripped the haloes from the powerful and well-connected:
- - The besmirched “runaway” Special Forces general Stanley McChrystal, whose career Hastings had dispatched in a 2010 article for Rolling Stone

- The saintly General “King” David Petraeus—former commander of Central Command (CENTCOM), International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan, and head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

- Daniel Saunders—a former assistant US attorney for the Central District of California

- Former Secretary of State and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, with whose staff Michael had many pointed exchanges regarding State’s Benghazi spin.

“To Maintain and Cultivate an Enemies List”

In his profile on the blogging consortium True/Slant, Hastings confided that his “secret ambition” was “to maintain and cultivate an enemies list.” Such ironic distancing was Hastings’s way of making palatable an inherently cynical view of the world. He knew that power corrupted, and to effect change it was necessary to point out the Emperor’s glaringly naked flesh.

In this manner, he was much like his blogging colleague at True/Slant, Barrett Brown. So much so, in fact, that the latter approached Hastings to work on a project that would change the way the public viewed the murky world of intelligence contracting in the post-9/11 era.

For those unfamiliar with Brown’s tale, WhoWhatWhy has been chronicling his trials since February 2013. He is currently in federal custody in Ft. Worth, Texas, facing over a hundred years behind bars for researching 70,000 hacked emails obtained from the cybersecurity firm HBGary Federal and its parent company HBGary. At no point is the government alleging he was involved in the hack itself. His putative “crime” is doing what investigative reporters are supposed to do: digging for the truth about breaches of the public trust.

To do this, Brown pioneered a collaborative wiki where researchers and journalists could sift through these emails and create an encyclopedia from the information contained within. This was known as ProjectPM (PPM).


Project PM Logo

In 2009, Brown invited Hastings to join forces on PPM, but Hastings’s interest was tempered by other commitments. When the two spoke next, Hastings told Brown he was working on something big.

[...]

Read the full article at: whowhatwhy.com




"What happened to Michael Hastings? The revelation that Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings was working on a story about the CIA before his death and had contacted a Wikileaks lawyer about being under investigation by the FBI hours before his car exploded into flames has bolstered increasingly valid claims that the 33-year-old was assassinated."





Tune into Red Ice Radio:

Patrick Henningsen - Hour 1 - Syria, Snowden, NSA & the Whistleblower Circus

Jon Rappoport - Hour 1 - The Surveillance State & War on the Individual

James Bamford - NSA, U.S. Cyber Command & the Global Brave New World of Surveillance

Peter Dale Scott - Hour 1 - Norway’s Massacre, Breivik & Deep Events

Tom Secker - Hour 1 - 7/7, State-sponsored Terrorism & Predictive Programming




Related Articles
Snowden Gets Russian Asylum and Leaves Moscow Airport
U.S. lawmakers want sanctions on any country taking in Snowden
US wants Russia to ’return’ Snowden, not ’extradite’: ambassador
Eyewitness To Hastings Crash Reported “Giant Explosion”
Michael Hastings Video: Does New Footage Show Explosions Prior To Crash?
Ace Of Spades For Michael Hastings: DARPA Contractors Take Control Of Moving Vehicles
Death of Rolling Stone “Muckracker”: The Michael Hastings Wreck–Video Evidence Only Deepens the Mystery
Reporter: Very Unusual Intense Hot Fire in Hastings Car Crash
Was Michael Hastings Murdered?
Evidence Indicates Michael Hastings Was Assassinated
Elite Hacker Barnaby Jack Murdered by NSA?
Top hacker dies days before scheduled Black Hat Convention talk: "Hacking Humans"
Bradley Manning acquitted of aiding the enemy, convicted on other counts
Bradley Manning trial ’dangerous’ for civil liberties – experts


Latest News from our Front Page

White House Pushes Race War, Then Blames Guns For Flanagan's "Race War"
2015-08-27 5:04
"You want a race war (expletive)?" Asked shooter The Obama administration is blaming guns for the WBDJ-TV shooting, even though the shooter, Vester Flanagan, was influenced by the White House’s race baiting. The White House has been falsely insinuating that racism is the dominant factor behind numerous events over the past several years, even those that didn’t involve race at all, and ...
How Google Destroyed the Internet
2015-08-27 5:12
The internet was created to resolve a simple problem: in communications networks, any central node through which all messages passed was vulnerable to attack or takeover. To counter this, engineers designed a network where any node would pass messages to other nodes, routing around any damage. Then came commerce and the democratization of the internet. Under this model, frightened sheep flock to ...
German government opens borders to all Syrians
2015-08-27 4:00
The German government has flung open Germany’s borders to any and all Syrians, regardless of whether they claim to be asylum seekers. A statement from the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees said that “Germany will become the member state responsible for processing their claims.” This new diktat means Syrians will no longer have their asylum cases reviewed to see if ...
Left Pushes End of Church Tax Exemptions
2015-08-27 2:51
Emboldened by their latest win in the Supreme Court over same-sex "marriage," the left has been trumpeting the cause tax exemptions for religious institutions at a much faster rate, setting the stage for it to become a national agenda.   Immediately following the Supreme Court decision that declared same-sex marriage legal, Time's Mark Oppenheimer openly declared that churches should be stripped of their ...
Meet America’s First School District to Serve 100% Organic Meals
2015-08-27 2:05
When schools in California’s Sausalito Marin City District return to session this August, they will be the first in the nation to serve their students 100 percent organic meals, sustainably sourced and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). More than 500 students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy in Marin City and Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito will eat fresh, local food ...
More News »