WASHINGTON — In the weeks before he was killed in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles, reporter Michael Hastings was researching a story about a privacy lawsuit brought by Tampa socialite Jill Kelley against the Department of Defense and the FBI.
Hastings, 33, was scheduled to meet with a representative of Kelley next week in Los Angeles to discuss the case, according to a person close to Kelley, McClatchy Tribune reported. Hastings wrote for Rolling Stone and the website BuzzFeed.
Kelley alleges that military officials and the FBI leaked her name to the media to discredit her after she reported receiving a stream of emails that were traced to Paula Broadwell, a biographer of former CIA director David Petraeus, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington on June 3.
Petraeus resigned from the CIA after admitting he and Broadwell had carried on an extramarital affair.
Since Hastings' death early Tuesday, wild conspiracy theories have bloomed on the Internet implying he was murdered by powerful forces wanting to silence him.
On Wednesday night, the antisecrecy website WikiLeaks inserted itself into the story, publishing a message on Twitter that Hastings had contacted a lawyer for the organization hours before his car struck a tree at high speed and caught fire.