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FBI denies reporter killed in car crash was under investigation

| Thursday, June 20, 2013, 8:27 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Reporter Michael Hastings was researching a story about a privacy lawsuit brought by Florida socialite Jill Kelley against the Department of Defense and the FBI when the Rolling Stone journalist died in a car crash this week.

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. Hastings wrote for Rolling Stone and the website BuzzFeed.

The FBI said on Thursday that Hastings was never under investigation by the agency.

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 H. Petraeus, according to her lawsuit. Petraeus resigned from the CIA after publicly admitting that he and Broadwell had carried on an extramarital affair.

Since Hasting's death early Tuesday, wild conspiracy theories have bloomed on the Internet implying that he was murdered by powerful forces wanting to silence him.

On Wednesday night, the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks inserted itself into the story, publishing a message on Twitter that Hasting had contacted a lawyer for the organization hours before his car smashed into a tree on North Highland in Los Angeles.

The message read: “Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.”

The crash is under investigation. The cause of death is pending the results of toxicology tests.

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