Newly released transcripts of 911 calls made by eyewitnesses to the fatal crash of Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings describe the vehicle blowing up, with one noting that a “giant explosion” took place during the incident.
The reports are consistent with recently uncovered surveillance footage that appears to show the journalist’s Mercedes suffering several explosions before crashing into a tree.
After initially refusing to divulge the tapes, the Los Angeles Police Department was forced to release the 911 calls to San Diego 6 news channel yesterday after an FOIA request. Out of the seven calls released, three eyewitnesses described the car exploding.
Call one; “Caller reported an accident, the car exploded. Caller was transferred to the Los Angeles City Fire Department.”
Call two; “Caller reported a huge accident, and the car had blown up. Caller was transferred to the Los Angeles City Fire Department.”
Call three; “Caller reported a car accident occurred in front of his house, and the car is burning.”
Call four; “Caller reported a traffic collision, he is not involved, there is a possible fatality because there was a giant explosion that occurred in the median, unknown if anyone got out of the vehicle.”
Call five; “Caller reported a car is totally engulfed in flames.”
Call six; “Caller reported a large fire on the divider of the road, he is not sure if there is a car involved.”
And call seven; “Caller reported huge auto accident.”
Analysis of the surveillance footage of the crash shows three large explosions before the vehicle comes to rest and begins to burn, fueling speculation that Hastings’ car was booby trapped with some kind of incendiary device.
The LAPD’s response to San Diego 6 also indicates that a federal agency is now investigating the death of Hastings.
“To find-out who is investigating and why, this week Judicial Watch will serve additional FOIAs against the DOJ (AKA Eric Holders’ war on journalists), Department of Homeland Security’s HSI, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Secretary of the Department of the Army (due to unchallenged threats made directly to Mr. Hastings),” writes Kimberly Dvorak.
As we reported last month, police and firefighters in the area have been given a gag order and told not to talk to the media about Hastings’ death.
Although the LAPD ruled out foul play days after the incident, automotive experts questioned why Hastings’ brand new Mercedes exploded into flames with such ferocity and why the engine was found 150 feet behind the vehicle.
Former counter-terror czar Richard Clarke reacted to the news by telling the Huffington Post that the fatal crash was “consistent with a car cyber attack.” Academic studies show that it is relatively easy to hack and remote control a modern day vehicle.
Hastings sent out an email to friends and colleagues 15 hours before his car crash stating he was “onto a big story” and needed “to go off the rada[r] for a bit.”
According to colleagues, Hastings was “incredibly tense and very worried, and was concerned that the government was looking in on his material,” and also a “nervous wreck” in response to the surveillance of journalists revealed by the AP phone tapping scandal and the NSA PRISM scandal.
After Wikileaks reported that Hastings had contacted them a few hours before his death complaining that he was under FBI investigation, other friends confirmed that the journalist was “very paranoid” about the feds watching him.
Hastings routinely received death threats as a result of his hard-hitting journalism, particularly in relation to his 2010 exposé of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.