Did this administration “off” Michael Hastings?

I’m not much of one for conspiracy theories. Oh, I’ve watched the occasional movie and read a handful of books about such things, but overall, I tend to believe that people are too busy doing their regular jobs and living their lives to sit around devising evil plans against the masses.

The Obama administration has changed the way I think about all that.

And, listen, anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that is a huge departure from my previous Rah-Rah Obama mantra.

But I was wrong.

The sort of change this administration is bringing about is the kind I can live without, thank you very much.

There’s no denying that this administration, and others before it, are hell-bent on overstepping their constitutional boundaries.

And maybe even more than that.

While Americans have been distracted reading Fifty-Shades of Grey  or figuring out whether The Bachelorette finally gets her man, it seems that some serious infractions against our civil liberties have ensued.

In other words, Big Brother is not only watching you, he is eavesdropping on you, reading your emails, and keeping track of your daily whereabouts.

As journalist Michael Hastings noted in his last article for Buzz Feed, “Why Democrats love to spy on Americans”:

Glenn Greenwald’s (reporter at The Guardian) exposure of the NSA’s massive domestic spy program has revealed the entire caste of current Democratic leaders as a gang of civil liberty opportunists, whose true passion, it seems, was in trolling George W. Bush for eight years on matters of national security.

“Everyone should just calm down,” Senator Harry Reid said yesterday, inhaling slowly.

That’s right: don’t panic.

The very topic of Democratic two-facedness on civil liberties is one of the most important issues that Greenwald has covered. Many of those Dems — including the sitting President Barack Obama, Senator Carl Levin, and Sec. State John Kerry — have now become the stewards and enhancers of programs that appear to dwarf any of the spying scandals that broke during the Bush years, the very same scandals they used as wedge issues to win elections in the Congressional elections 2006 and the presidential primary of 2007-2008.

 

Who would have imagined that Hastings would die in an inexplicably fiery-crash only days after filing this story?  Or that hours before his death that he would send out the following email?

Subject: FBI Investigation, re: NSA

Hey (redacted names) — 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 rada[r] for a bit.

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

Michael

 

There is no question that this administration has violated one of the cornerstones of our democracy: the First Amendment. This practice of secret surveillance and seizing the records of journalists is the sort of thing one only expects to see only while watching a Jason Bourne movie. Or perhaps when visiting Syria.

But our government wouldn’t actually go about “offing” its own people, would they?

Sure, there’s that nasty little surveillance program exposed by that nerdy kid who ran off to Hong Kong and then Ecuador. Or wherever.

And, yes, there’s that matter of the drones, that are never, except in very rare situations, or maybe sometimes under extreme conditions used against Americans. Speaking before a Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Mueller admitted that drones were “very seldom used and generally used in a particular incident where you need the capability.”

Say like when there’s a journalist gone rogue, doing real research and real reporting, instead of acting as a mouthpiece for the administration, is that what you mean, Mr. Mueller?

Naw. That’s silly.

Our government wouldn’t kill innocent people unless it were on foreign soil.

Sure, we improperly and illegally imprison people, and sometimes torture them, without the benefit of due process as required by our very own Constitution, but that doesn’t count as long as we don’t lock those evildoers up inside our own borders.

After all, we are the good guys in white hats and stomp-your-badass-to-the-ground boots, right?

Still, surely, our government wouldn’t off a pesky journalist, would they?

Or imprison a gay soldier for talking out of school?

Or chase a computer nerd halfway around the world, simply because he told everybody what Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall were itching to tell the public themselves?

That our very own government is all up in our private bizness.

Recording our phone calls, peering in via Skype as our soldier husbands meet their newborns for the very first time, tracking how many times we make a Starbucks run and recording the frequency of those trips, and monitoring how many friends we actually have on Facebook and what it is we are saying about this administration.

Of course, as long as we follow Joel Osteen’s lead and keep everything perky and prayerful, there’s nothing to worry about.

The government can spy all it wants on us. We got nothing to hide. It’s the only way to keep America safe.

Unless, of course, you happen to be one of those people for whom integrity matters.

Then you might find yourself caught up  in the middle of a fireball early one morning.

But then again, maybe I’ve been at the scene of one too many car accidents, including a 52-car pile-up, the largest in Oregon’s history, and never, ever seen a car aflame like Hasting’s.

The only time I’ve seen a car catch flame like Hastings did was while watching John Grisham’s Pelican Brief.

And, that, after all, was pure fiction, right?

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About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • R.Jane

    In a word: probably. The circumstances are just too suspicious. Young driver in good health, one-car wreck, excessive fire. If not the NSA, (which by the way is larger and more pervasive than the CIA), then someone else with gov’t. ties. I’d like to see the IRE on this investigation as soon as possible, if it isn’t already. Journalists, watch your butts.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      I’d like to know what the big story was that he was working on.

      • LorenHaas

        No you don’t!

        • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

          Ha. You are probably right.

    • Hanan

      excessive fire? I’m not sure what that means, but from what I understand he was going roughly 100mph down Highland Blvd. I know that street. If you are going down that street that fast, chances are you are going to die.

      • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

        The question might be why was he driving that fast down a city street when he wasn’t being followed? Not obviously anyway. Could it be that he wasn’t in control of his own car?

        • Hanan

          Ya. Sorry. Not in control of his own vehicle? That is quite a conspiracy theory.

          • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

            I agree. It is. And not like me at all. But then again if you had told me a year ago that I would be reading headlines detailing domestic spying on US citizens, the collecting of phone calls of all Americans, the use of domestic drones — inside our own borders — well all that would have seemed like the far-fetched ramblings of someone who read too many Brad Thor novels. So, yes, while it may seem the stuff of the tin-foil thinkers, that doesn’t make it not so.

    • Sam Edwards

      No. Car accidents are the leading cause of death. They are random. And the human brain is actually really, really bad at seeing randomness. That’s why you see animals in cloud patterns. That’s all this is.

      Just as there are lots and lots of car accidents, there are also lots and lots of journalists. Occum’s razor suggest this was not the administration.

      President Obama is a good man.

      • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

        Driving down a city street @ 100 mph isn’t a random thing. Not for a man who didn’t drink, didn’t do drugs. A man who only hours before sent an email (undoubtedly read by NSA goonies) to close confidants saying that he was being investigated, and working on a big story. Nothing random about that. He was traveling that fast for a reason. And not a random reason.

        • Sam Edwards

          Did you know him? I did not. Lots of people have public images that are one thing, and private realities that are another. This sounds made up.

          Edit: The source for this seems to be Breitbart.com.

          • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

            I did not know him. I did, however, do some research prior to writing this. Intimates who did know him said he gave up drinking years ago. He had a high level of ethics and professionalism. It seems highly suspicious, if nothing else, that hours after sending out an alarming email about being investigated, that he would end up dead. And in a manner that made no sense. Why would he have been driving that fast? Surely he knew the dangers. Unless, perhaps, he wasn’t doing the driving. Unless he was already dead. But of course we will never know because his body was destroyed by the fire.

          • Sam Edwards

            Well there you go, “gave up drinking” suggests there was an underlying problem to begin with. A relapse is more likely than a drone strike. And you know that.

          • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

            And there you go .. making assumptions again.

  • Steve

    While I wouldn’t put it past the administration to do this, I just have to wonder: would a journalist’s assassination be this obvious? I mean think about it. If you were going to do some kind of black-bag operation to assassinate someone who was reporting on government wrongdoings, wouldn’t you do it well enough that a bunch of guys on the internet wouldn’t immediately see and call foul play?

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Well, I’m not saying they did do it. I’m just asking the obvious. However, in regards to your question: Would they do it well enough to cover it up better? Mmm…This is the same intelligence force that altho while conducting one of the broadest domestic spying programs in American history (as far as we know) still couldn’t prevent the Boston bombing by a couple of pubescent thugs. So, I think the answer to your question is no. When it comes to the NSA, FBI, and CIA, intelligence is an oxymoron.

      • Danny Wadsworth

        I have not read a stronger case than yours, very enlightning!

    • LorenHaas

      Steve, it was the double reverse whammy. You make it so obvious you did it that no one can believe you did. It is kind of like those chem trails. I mean you can look up and see them, but it is hard to believe they are mind altering agents, so they get away with. Hide in plain sight.

      • Pam

        You’re seriously saying chemtrails are mind control drugs or something? Conspiracy theories are silly.

  • John in PDX

    The engine was thrown 50 feet from the car and it was engulfed in flames? Doesn’t sound like a normal wreck.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/24/michael-hastings-car-hacked_n_3492339.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      I thought it was a 100 ft…

  • Alice

    An individual in the organization could have acted alone out of revenge or fear of being exposed. Assuming it was sabotage, that is a more plausible theory to me because I agree with Steve.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      That’s certainly a possibility. What I find less plausible is that he was speeding down that street at that hour for no apparent reason.


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