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Wikileaks has released the greatest data dump of classified CIA documents in the site’s brief but notorious history. The fallout of these revelations, which primarily concern cyber-hacking within the CIA, is yet unclear. However, questions are already beginning to stir regarding the practices of the CIA in recent years. Specifically, people are beginning to wonder if the intelligence agency had anything to do with the mysterious death of Michael Hastings who died in highly suspicious circumstances in 2013.
Hastings forged his reputation as an enterprising war correspondent. Later in his career, he moved on to domestic matters and became particularly interested in the topic of mass surveillance by government agencies. His final published article, ‘Why Democrats Love to Spy on Americans’ was an excoriating attack on the domestic spying program orchestrated by the NSA during President Obama’s years in office. At the time of his death, he was working on a profile of the CIA director John Brennan.
Could Wikileaks CIA revelations shed some light on the death of Michael Hastings?
Hastings never finished his piece. He was killed on Tuesday the 18th of June 2013, when his Mercedes C250 Coupe appeared to lose control and burst into flames. Witnesses to the incident said that the car was traveling at top speed and blasting out ‘sparks and blames’ before it veered off the road. Despite the extraordinary circumstances of this car crash, the LAPD were quick to assure the public that there was nothing to suggest that Hastings was murdered.
Immediately before his death, Michael Hastings had been in touch with Wikileaks lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, asking for legal counsel because he was being investigated by the FBI. Friends and family members have verified that Hastings had also told them about his anxieties surrounding an active federal investigation. The bureau took the unusual step of denying that Hastings was under scrutiny but this claim rings hollow. It seems unlikely that a journalist who was well known for working to the highest standards of integrity in his professional life would tell such a brazen and unnecessary lie.
The FBI’s secrecy surrounding their investigation of Hastings and the fact that he was working on an expose of the CIA chief led many people to suspect that the government had deliberately caused the journalist’s death back in 2013. Now, the ‘Vault 7’ release seems to give credence to these suspicions. According to Wikileaks’s revelations, the CIA was examining ways to infect the vehicle control systems of modern cars and trucks. “The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations, ” writes Wikileaks.