By on March 10, 2017

Tree at Crash Site of Journalist Michael Hastings, Image: By Lord Jim (flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Three and a half years ago, I expressed some suspicion regarding the death of investigative journalist Michael Hastings. I didn’t have any inside information or unique knowledge on the subject; I just didn’t like the way the aftermath of the crash looked when evaluated in light of the “official” story that was being handed out at the time.

A lot of people thought I might have a point. Another, perhaps larger, lot of people thought I was crazy. Well, there’s now some information available to all of us, thanks to WikiLeaks, that might shed some additional light on the topic.


Part of the “Vault 7” release suggests that the CIA explored methods of performing “undetectable” assassinations via hacking into a vehicle control computer. It’s very far from being impossible; every modern automobile in production can perform two of the three major control operations — braking and acceleration — via computer control, and many cars are also able to steer via a computer command. But even if you don’t have computer-controlled steering, it’s child’s play to “steer” a car through the brakes. That’s how stability control works, you know.

Of course, it’s a long way from saying that it’s possible to kill someone remotely in their car to proving the CIA killed Michael Hastings, even if the CIA was or is passionately interested in the subject of vehicle assassination. But I think it’s safe to say the three traditional components of a murder — motive, means, and opportunity — are all present to a greater or lesser degree in this case.

What do you think? Am I being paranoid? Am I not being paranoid enough? Should I stop driving my Accord on the street and return to my trusty cable-operated, ABS-removed Plymouth Neon? Or will the CIA try another method of killing me? Maybe they’ll send me a really fine-looking girl, the way the opposition did in the movie “Munich.” I could live with that. Or die with it!

[Image: By Lord Jim (flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

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119 Comments on “QOTD: Did the CIA Kill Michael Hastings?...”


  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Two things..well three. Firstly I went back and read the other article and realized that only about 4 of the prior poster are still on this site..ummm..
    2: They were not very nice about how they felt about the victim.
    3: I have been saying stuff like this is possible for years. It is the gov. you know. They are the ones pushing the whole self driving electro car thing.
    As I stand here stroking my goat in my arms.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Jack, either you get on the stick and write about this, or I will have to take time out of a “productive Friday” and do so myself (Nissan line workers making $12 per hour and no benefits because they’re not employees, but Kelly Service contract workers?):

      “Nissan uses a temp company, Kelly Services, to fill almost half the jobs at the plant. Temp workers there receive $12 an hour plus the promise that after a certain time, they’ll become full Nissan employees. But many of them languish for years.

      To make matters worse, this poverty-wage business model is paid for by our tax dollars. In fact, Nissan and Kelly Services have scooped up more than $3 billion in federal contracts and loans. That means our government is helping keep American factory workers in poverty jobs while corporate executives get to pocket billions in profits.”

      http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-administration/323268-the-truth-about-american-wages

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    You fell for Wikileaks Fraud!

    There is NOTHING in the actual documents about hacking cars for assassination. Its just a note that “yeah, car hacking is interesting”, something we’ve known about for years. If the CIA did want to do car hacking, the goal would be to turn that telematics system into a bug, and probably with physical access to the car itself.

    • 0 avatar
      phxchristian

      What makes you so sure that it is fraud? WikiLeaks has had a perfect record and things have been verified by the DNC after its leaks from Seth Rich. It’s not some made up site that gets false info. I want to find out what you know that makes it fraud. Otherwise, you’re just trying to cover things up in my opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      phxchristian

      https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/cms/page_13763790.html This is the part of the documents referring to Vehicle Systems and QNX.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Click bait? I am so done with this site

  • avatar
    ckb

    For situations like this (and the many many others that seem “fishy”) its best to remind ourselves of Occam’s razor*: The simplest solution is probably….a cover-up for a massive conspiracy of unprecedented proportions involving the highest levels of government and hundreds or thousands of participants that are loyal to the death!

    *Updated for the internet age.

    Side note: I remember your original theory mentioned that modern cars are very good about not catching on fire, but that doesn’t stop ~160,000 car fires/year (google). Conspiracy? Maybe I’m part of it!!!

  • avatar
    GoHuskers

    The US government is a criminal organization. As far back as the early 1960’s it demonstrated the desire to kill US citizens for political gain.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Duh.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Criminal organization”. By definition.. No.
      The “government” spends billions on lawyers who interpret the USA constitution and laws that exist. If a law does not cover their actions, they get the appropriate laws passed.
      Another “out” is to pass off the operation to the military. Extrajudicial executions are not a new phenomenon and it is likely most democratic countries have carried out these sort of acts. The USA has killed its own citizens under the doctrine of “the global battlefield” and its war on “terror”.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Some very small parts of the US government have done some very bad things.

      The vast majority of the government is just made up of boring civil servants who are trying to keep your Social Security and student loans flowing, like Congress told them to.

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        The reality, I’d like to believe, is more like dal suggests. Some very small parts of the US government have done some very bad things. For instance, in the JFK assassination, if they weren’t involved in the details of the plans, they were certainly involved in the cover-up. That being the FBI and CIA. Won’t say any more as you would have to know much more about many details both prior to and immediately after November 22, 1963.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Those bad actors, and actions violative of core constitutional rights, are far greater in number and frequency than even the best-advised of us with credible information realize, I’m afraid.

        Whenever clandestine alphabet soup entities are “overseen” by people such as politicians on House & Senate select panels and essentially unaccountable, appointed judges to very recent creations such as FISA courts, my inner skeptic voice tells me I’m well-warranted to suspect the violations we aren’t aware of probably outnumbered those that we have been made aware of by a factor of 100x to 1,000x.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      That’s what AM radio tells me.

      I’m scared out of my wits, and I’ll follow anyone who 1. tells me to be afraid 2. tells me to fear Democracy 3. suggests I should believe conspiracy theories 4. to stockpile weapons so that I can shoot police when they attempt to take over Murrica 5. fear the census 6. rally to help the entire population of Texas and New Mexico, who are currently imprisoned in WalMart basements 7. that the Newtown CT massacre was a government ruse 8.that contrails are chemtrails 9. to buy survival rations, and that tens of thousands of muslims threw a street rave in Jersey City on 9/11 2001.

  • avatar
    Mike N

    Of course it’s possible to hack a car and have it crash into a wall or tree. We would have to be very naive to not believe that the CIA has a number of sophisticated tools and techniques are their disposal. Just look at the “science fiction” stuff that we know about. Did they do it….. Maybe, buy we’ll never know.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    “Do you expect me to talk?”

    “No, Mister Bond…”

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    Jesus Christ. Take off the tinfoil hat Jack.

    /I come here for car review and car related news not conspiracy theories.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I haven’t seen the Spielberg film “Munich” in many years but from what I seem to recall it was mostly a glorified story of revenge with some human drama sprinkled in for effect. Given the subject of the piece, I can’t help but find irony (McChrystal piece).

    • 0 avatar
      True_Blue

      The scene where they dispose of Jeanette the Dutch Assassin on her houseboat was one of the more shocking cinema deaths I’d seen up to that point. Uncomfortable in several ways.

      The entire movie was uncomfortable, and purposely so.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      You should see it.

      I like approx one of every 28.78 movies I see, and liked Munich (for what it was).

      They could have easily turned it into an allegory along the lines of how simpletons prefer to view the world (black or white), but did a relatively good job at blurring the lines and trying to compel viewers to reassess what they previously held to be dogma.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        Yeah except that all of the people involved did see the world in black and white, rightly or wrongly. The “blurring lines” is hollywood bullcrap. From Chris Kyle to joke “Hurtlocker” none of that is how those people really feel. At least not the senior people in the intelligence and special operations community.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Agreed. We’ve seen the cold war as very black and white. Many countries are still suffering from the ongoing legacy of “interventions”.
          Same can be said for the war on terror. In many instances foreign policy has made the situation worse. Somalia is a prime example.

          • 0 avatar
            Detroit-Iron

            Neither the person that Hurtlocker was based on nor Chris Kyle are policymakers, so I am not sure what your point is.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Detroit-Iron – I’m not basing my comments upon any movie. Pinochet was put in place because of fear of leftist/socialist *read* communism taking root in South America. The 1953 coup against Iran’s democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq is another example.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “Oh, by the way… beware the honey trap. You won’t miss it. You don’t *want* to miss it.”

      I wouldn’t have missed it, and I’d have ended up dead.

      Fantastic movie; glad it’s on my shelf.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “Z” was a much better film in every way.

      Anyway, for Mr. Hastings: Speed kills. Simple as that.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Munich is based on a book written by the late George Jonas. There was a previous film based on the same book nearly 20 years previously.

      The problem is that Jonas’ source, the supposed head of the Mosad team, has very little credibility.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    A rental Chevy Cobalt once tried to literally kill me. I was driving along, with my lucky White Rabbit Foot in my pocket, on business in Virginia, at about 75mph, when the vehicle lost power steering and power braking, and I smashed into the concrete median, whereby the airbags failed to deploy.

    I had been researching Operation Mockingbird ( http://thefreethoughtproject.com/fbi-impersonate-media-mockingbird/ ) at the time, during some R&R.

    Just prior to the accident, I noticed a Rainbow Carpet Steam Cleaning van following me, pretty overtly, with some shady looking front-seat passengers, neatly fitting the description of “wet boys” I had learned to identify in my prior career.

    After a final analysis of the event, it turns out that General Motors used the cheapest possible ignition cylinder tumbler, to save 43 cents per vehicle produced, and ironically, this defect saved my life in this particular situation, as the bullet fired by the Rainbow Steam Cleaning waxman (from his fully dialed-in Mk-13 Mod 5) barely missed my head, as the Cobalt a fraction-of-a-second earlier, lost all power control, veering off the road, due the weight of a paper clip I had earlier, fortuitously (as it turned out) attached to the rental car key.

    https://www.sott.net/article/344648-Tip-of-the-iceberg-Wikileaks-CIA-data-dump-accounts-for-less-than-one-percent-of-Vault-7-documents-received

    “WikiLeaks’ data dump on Tuesday accounted for less than one percent of ‘Vault 7’, a collection of leaked CIA documents which revealed the extent of its hacking capabilities, the whistleblowing organization has claimed on Twitter.”

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Jack, you might have a point, but I don’t think this is something for an auto review site.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Duke, I posted this same comment recently about another political post, and I was crucified for it.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/02/scott-pruitt-confirmed-senate-head-epa/

      So now that it’s been established to everyone’s satisfaction that politics is fair game on TTAC, let me thank Jack for raising this important issue.

      There are a lot of evidence points around Hastings’ death that make it sound very plausible he was the target of a spy-state hit job. One of them is that he told intimates in the days before his death that he felt he was hot on a trail of a very big story about governmental misconduct. There are others as well.

      http://www.commondreams.org/news/2013/06/20/wikileaks-journalist-michael-hastings-was-dogged-fbi

    • 0 avatar
      ErickKS

      I’ve long thought of TTAC to be more than just a “car review site”.

      There are plenty of those, and they can be counted on to give the normal, expected prose that will keep them getting testers and invites to industry gatherings.

  • avatar
    ErickKS

    Human nature guarantees that people will be killed this way.

    People are well-documented to use anything they can to kill.

    This will just be more, ahhh, solid state.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Attention trolls and the easily triggered: I believe that the deeper meaning of this post relates less toward WikiLeaks and more toward concerns about the various electronic systems and associated AI built into recent vehicles that, upon malfunction accidental or deliberate, could kill the driver and his passengers.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Stupid question, doesn’t a car need “network connectivity” to be hackable? So, for instance, my TSX has drive by wire and all that, but has no pipeline into the car for outside data. Isn’t Jack’s Accord the same way? I get it if there’s OnStar or a Tesla or BMW-esque “OTA update capability” but for most average cars, they still lack that, don’t they? What am I missing?

    • 0 avatar
      Aqua225

      Most modern cars have a CAN bus, which is a type of network.

      Cars use it to move steering wheel button signals to the radio, traction control signals between ECM and ABS controller.

      A way onto this bus? Bluetooth system. Hack into that, find vulnerabilities in the firmware, and exploit those to get to the CAN bus. Then exploit vulnerabilities in systems on the CAN bus to control ABS and ECM. And now steering.

      It’s definitely not a reach to hack a car if you have resources and time.

      I believe one of the items Hasting’s Mercedes had was electric steering, but I will bet Jack or someone else has some input there, I just remember it being some sort of Mercedes sports coupe (which may also be wrong!).

      Recently, some civilian hackers announced they had pulled it off with a Jeep, if memory serves.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      One could in theory break into the car at some point prior to the planned hit and install whatever receiving device one wanted. Maybe one could even use “geofencing” so that no active input was needed to initiate the “event”.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Who will watch the watchers?

    Who will troll the trolls?

  • avatar
    Joss

    What would the CIA want with the vast majority of us? They’re either sweating the latest threats. Or they’re down in the cafeteria nice & comfy on their bottoms.

    Sure the government wants our tax $$$. Other than that schmucks bore the pants offa them.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Always my stock answer to people freaking out that my car/cell phone/facebook page/TV/toothbrush is spying on me and killing all of my privacy. I am a pretty boring person all things considered. Go to work, take care of my kid, shop at normal stores, do normal things. Aside from a mild interest in guns and occasionally going hunting and target shooting, there’s basically nothing in my “private” life that would be embarrassing or interesting to authorities in any way. Going to let it out that I occasionally surf pretty mainstream pr0n? Going to expose my unspectacular (large or small) bank balances? So what? Anonymity is just as valuable as privacy.

      • 0 avatar
        Halftruth

        And I am sure you are ok with the 100 plus acre installation sitting on the side of a mountain in Utah built for such monitoring? I’m not.. I get your point about not being interesting enough but why give them an open door to your life? If they want to find something and fark with you, they will.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          I’m neither okay with it nor not okay with it. Frankly, both parties have demonstrated their willingness to trample over the rights of average US citizens. I voted third party this past election cycle in part because of that. Beyond that, aside from wishing they wouldn’t do it, I’m not sure what I can do about it as an average citizen who doesn’t need this particular windmill to tilt against. I can be philosophically against it while recognizing the minimal impact on my life, which means I spend little time tangibly acting against it. Probably makes me a bad American, but hey, I gotta pay the mortgage and take care of my kid, overthrowing the government because they monitor my FB checkins doesn’t further that goal.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Frankly, both parties have demonstrated their willingness to trample over the rights of average US citizens.

            The “deep government” doesn’t have a political party. A 25 year career bureaucrat may or may not be affiliated with a political party but he has an agenda and beliefs that have very little to do with a formal affiliation.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “The “deep government” doesn’t have a political party. A 25 year career bureaucrat may or may not be affiliated with a political party but he has an agenda and beliefs that have very little to do with a formal affiliation.”

            Agreed. Career bureaucrats view political elections (rotation of billionaire reptiles in the swamp) as an interruption of the normal flow of operations.
            It is easy to change the “official” culture and chain of command of an organization but the unofficial culture/hierarchy is next to impossible to change.

          • 0 avatar
            Paragon

            What Principal Dan says. The “Deep State” government is quite different from our elected officials. What Truman, Eisenhower, JFK and all others since then discovered is that not even the POTUS has any control whatsoever over the “Deep State”. The ugly truth is that they don’t work for the President, nor for Congress nor the American people. With some serious research though, you can discover who they work for. Ask yourself, who benefits from ongoing wars like WWI, WWII, Korea, View Nam, and the mid-east wars.

            Lou_BC also has a good understanding of what is really going on.

            Also, has anybody else heard in the recent news that we have 16 (if not more) intelligence agencies? That was news to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Aqua225

      It’s not that you are interesting now — with the massive data mop-ups that are occurring related to phone data, browsing activity, etc., it becomes a problem when you may later become interesting, either by intention, accident, or just being close by.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        +1. Privacy matters, even if you aren’t interesting.

        I know a psychiatrist who sometimes work with what can be described as scary patients. Anonymity is one way to protect yourself and your family.

        I was acquainted with someone who worked in the District Attorney’s office. This was way before computers were wide-spread and the city gave the person an unlisted number. How quaint! But at least the bureaucrats of the time acknowledged the need for privacy.

        The same applies to people with ex’s, and people with medical conditions they’d rather not share.

  • avatar
    Vega

    Just as Bannon is turning the federal government into a playground for his authoritarian fever dreams (and a free-for-all for the wider Trump clan) Jack is turning TTAC into Breitbaruth.

    In both cases the view from the outside is disheartening. Without a (for all its flaws) stable US based in the rule of law the world will turn into a much more dangerous place. And for TTAC, well I guess there are other car sites…

  • avatar
    Storz

    Ask yourself first if the government would shoot an unarmed woman holding a baby in the face through a door and you’ll have your answer about Hastings.

    • 0 avatar
      rcx141

      Put it another way. If a Russian journalist had just published a book that resulted in a major Russian Army officer losing his job died after crashing his car at rocket speed, CNN and NBC and the rest would still be banging on about how Putin did it.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Don’t forget that she was pregnant.

      And as someone who drives through Bucyrus and sees Katona Realty signs, I think about what happened to that family, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Rick T.

      Or killed almost 80 people, including a number of children, just to get one wacko down in Waco.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      White cops watch the same cable news, listen to the same AM radio, and visit the same right-wing websites as the conspiracy theorists.

      They’re more White Nationalist and White Supremacist than they are ‘government’.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    There is a logical fallacy in nearly all government conspiracy theories.
    1) Those who most mistrust the government are also the ones that are most likely to consider it to be incompetent. If it is so incompetent, then how can it develop and execute subtle and nearly undetectable conspiracies/plans.
    2) The more people who are involved in a secret/illegal/conspiratorial operation the greater the chances of it i)failing, ii) being discovered. Humans are terrible at keeping secrets.
    3) Governments in democracies change. That means that there are thousands of disgruntled or ex-employees with a grudge and who are more than willing to spill the beans.
    4) In North America we still have a free press. That means that they not only a largely willing but will often be rewarded for revealing things. And thankfully anonymous sources are still protected.
    5) The simplest solution is usually the correct answer.
    6) Criminals are generally incompetent, lazy or just plain stupid. Forget the movies or TV shows, in most cased they are just too much of the above to make a decent living honestly.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This is a ridiculous theory.

    It’s really hard to aim for a tree that also requires a curb jump at an oblique angle.

    As with any conspiracy theory, you have to consider the outcome if the Grand Plan hadn’t worked precisely. What if Mr Hastings’ car had missed the tree and simply rolled over? He would have survived to permit an investigation.

    http://dxczjjuegupb.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/putin-grassy-knoll.png

    What are TTAC’s standards for libel?

  • avatar
    fastwilly

    I don’t have a strong opinion on whether there was any foul play was involved in his death, but the world lost a wonderful journalist.

    I would encourage anyone seeking to know how the presidential sausage is made to read his GQ article “Confessions of a Presidential Campaign Reporter.” Although you may want to skip the article if you are a Chuck Norris fan.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    Fascinating question, and I cannot ignore such a great plot device for a espionage thriller.

    CIA – 22,000 active employees.
    NSA – Estimated 40,000 employees, including an estimated 4000+ computer scientists.
    Total numbers of contractors, current military intelligence officers including special forces – who knows, but its well over a 100k.

    Hastings stated that at one time, some of McChrystal’s staff members, allegedly drunk at the time, said “you’re not going to f*** us, are you?” and that another told him “we’ll hunt you down and kill you if we don’t like what you write”. He interpreted this as a drunken joke.

    Intelligence official Richard Clarke acknowledged in 2013 that he had reason to believe that the U.S. and other foreign powers had the ability to hack into a car to seize control of acceleration and braking. He noted that university research had shown that it was “easy” to hack into such a car’s system.

    So, given the sheer amount of intelligence operatives active, furloughed, retired, etc., is it out of the realm of possibility that someone(s) exercised some self-help on a guy that had embarrassed or uncovered something? Given that we’ve spent the last 16 years using drone strikes for remote kills, perhaps local boots on the ground have used car hacking to remotely disable cars so that the hellfire won’t miss.

    If they can hack a phone, they can hack in perhaps from bluetooth. Who knows? If they’ve been doing this for years, surely its not unreasonable to assume that someone may have the program on a thumb drive and could have left some malicious code for such a time that Hastings was driving in excess of 100 MPH.

    Motive, means, and opportunity. If I had spent the last 15 years of my life and had accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in hazard pay, consulting fees, contract work to essentially kill people, would I give a rat’s a** about wasting a thorn in my side? If you knew that a target had a penchant for late night joyriding..Boom! Done. Roasted (pun intended). The code or malware incinerated. A wall, tree, building, fence – doesn’t matter. 100+ Mph, you’re gonna die.

    This isn’t a magic bullet. Seems easy enough to believe. I would not be suprised at all if this was an off-the books payback.

    As one LA band’s first hit single put it; “you’re in the jungle, baby …..You’re gonna die.”

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Plausible except the CIA/NSA etc just are not that good at killing people and do not do it nearly as often as the movies/media would have us believe.

      How long did it take to get Bin Laden?
      How successful were they at taking out Castro?
      Noriega is still alive.
      The list goes on.

      The fact is they are a government agency and therefore a bureaucracy. And that they follow a very specific hiring process, which includes psychological testing. This means that they have little chance of hiring or keeping employed ‘lone wolves’ or those with the required psychological disorders. Instead they are more apt to hire paper pushers, nerds and accountant/lawyer types.

      • 0 avatar
        Mike N

        I don’t want to turn this into a political discussion but I guess it already is. Bin Laden … protected by a quasi enemy country. Castro and Noriega …… protected by politicians. These are weak examples. Psychologically unhealthy people in government, there are none of those in the FBI, ATF, CIA , etc. None at all. All the news reports of atrocities and abuse by government agencies in the this century alone are all false.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Bin Laden deliberately went off the grid. Using behavioral pattern recognition along with an eventual slip up among one of his Lieutenant’s lead to them tracking him down.

        Castro was no longer worth going after. Cuba is/was easy to isolate. Read up on USA interventions in the Americas and you can clearly see that “Manifest Destiny” was what lead to the rise of *a Castro* in the first place.

        Noriega was protected because he ratted out rival drug cartels to gain preferential treatment. He allowed Panama to be used as a base of operations for covert/clandestine operations in the region. Despots are allowed to exist as long as they provide a perceived benefit to another power.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Noriega was CIA.

          “Noriega was recruited as a CIA informant while studying at a military academy in Peru.”

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/apr/27/manuel-noriega-us-friend-foe

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        Arthur, you make the outrageous claim that the CIA is just not that good at killing people. You couldn’t be more wrong. Or, let me rephrase that, you must be ill-informed. They always have a patsy on which to affix the blame. And, so long as the patsy ends up dead, no one is the wiser. Or, they blame an enemy. Or, it’s an accidental plane crash, etc. They leave nothing to chance. As long as their cohorts in the media report what they want the public to know, how would we know any different? In the event you didn’t know, they’ve had “working relationships” with all forms of the media since the early 1950s. That’s right. The mainstream media has for long been the propaganda and misinformation branch of the CIA. That is the reality we most certainly were not taught in school. I’m not at all happy that that is so, but it is.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Excellent post, Frank. Thank you.

  • avatar
    sideshowtom98

    I thought this article was a complete waste of time. It has the feel of something dashed off the top of the writers head, and really has little of interest to “car people”. What is it doing on a car blog? Most of what has been on here the past few months has been nothing but boring. Not a single article telling me anything I couldn’t find on a dozen other car websites, all having better content, writing, and editing.
    Further, I don’t think more than about 15-20 people regularly read this site anymore, based on the number of people who comment. Every article seems to have the same commenters, posting inanities for the same article several times, then degenerating into conversations with each other about esoteric differences of opinion I doubt that they even care about. Lastly, ever reader on here seems to feel compelled to comment, repeatedly, about every single article written. They pretend to be experts, and drone on incessantly. What they truly are, are people with so little going on in their lives they have to bore us in every article, every day, with numerous postings that are not truly interesting to anyone.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      The mere fact that there were over 35 different posters on this thread alone, demonstrates the fallacy of your comment.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Stick around and you’ll learn some of the commenters are in the car business whether in sales or engineering. Others are computer programmers, teachers, detectives, lawyers. Some work on their own cars. A few take them to the track. All love cars from the visceral to the cerebral.

      TTAC readers skew older (and smarter), so most don’t put wings on their cars.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Yesterday’s JB article was wonderful. Today’s: not so much. Kinda like the weather we’ve been experiencing in The Capital of the Free World. Beautiful spring day yesterday about 70 degrees F; today windy, cold and snow showers.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    The answer to your headline and the question of who killed Michael Hastings is clearly “NOT THE CIA”.

    Jack, don’t you know that the CIA does not conduct operations on US Soil nor investigate/kill/set fire to/ruin/etc….US Citizens.

    That is the NSA’s job I think.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    No.

    Jake Tapper did.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Alright, Analyst hat on. This happened years ago so I am sure someone has taken the vehicle he was operating and reconstructed this given the relative simplicity of vehicle control systems compared to say, modern PC operating systems.

    No?

    Well certainly someone has come up with an attack vector or something specific to this situation then.

    No?

    Well maybe a potential kill chain?

    No?

    I’ll be waiting.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I’m sure it can be done because there was a recent episode of NCIS New Orleans where a Navy race car driver was killed when some bank robbers hacked his race car and drove it into a wall. Science shows like NCIS always make sure to get the technical details correct – they are almost like documentaries. I’m also pretty sure that the NYT will soon have a front page story about the secret phone call between Trump and Putin that provides 100% proof that Trump ordered the hit.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Can cars be hacked? Of course.

    Are there about 15,000 easier, more subtle ways for a large covert organization to kill someone? Of course.

    Is the CIA focused on much more important things than a journalist talking about hacking cars? Of course.

    Conspiracy theories are silly. This one included.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I don’t know if the CIA was involved, and I’m inclined to say “probably not.” But I have read that the investigation of Hastings’ car crash seemed rushed and incomplete, leaving room for doubt.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        Beat me to it. If we assume the CIA wanted Hastings dead, would they waste this method on such a soft target? No. The idea that any US intel avency would do this just doesn’t pass any kind of feasability test. As far as a single unauthorized unhappy operator doing it? Were the lab geeks mad at him? No. The guys he pi$$ed in the boots of would use steel or lead and still not get caught. He crashed.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Beat me to it. If we assume the CIA wanted Hastings dead, would they waste this method on such a soft target? No. The idea that any US intel avency would do this just doesn’t pass any kind of feasability test. As far as a single unauthorized unhappy operator doing it? Were the lab geeks mad at him? No. The guys he pissed in the boots of would use steel or lead and still not get caught. He crashed.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Dal, I respect your opinion and agree with many of your posts. This one was an exception.

      It’s a common refrain nowadays to dismiss a possible explanation of events by labeling it a “conspiracy theory.” Fact: People often work in groups of more than one to achieve an objective. If it’s an objective we don’t like, we call such cooperation a “conspiracy.” If you accept, as I do, that not every cooperative endeavor has noble aims, then you accept there is such a thing as conspiracies. I see nothing automatically flawed about trying to figure out when one has taken place.

  • avatar
    ajla

    This is the sort of thing that happens to people in a turbo-4 Mercedes.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    We grant “the CIA looked into doing X and perhaps found ways to do so for some implementations”.

    That does not actually provide evidence that the CIA *did any particular X*.

    (What dal said.

    I don’t pretend the CIA is staffed by 100% nice people that only do nice things.

    But “killing this dude with sekrit car haxxing because he was writing about someone could do sekrit car haxxing” is ludicrous.)

  • avatar
    Ion

    Political discussions aside, it’s not impossible but it’s highly unlikely a hack would be easy. Let’s use hasting’s W204 as as example. The EIS could be hacked to keep the ignition on. The ISM hacked to prevent the auto transmission from shifting into nuetral. The telematics could be hacked to pinpoint location of the vehicle. The ME could get hacked to keep the throttle open. The problem is those are all independent control units. You would have to reprogram all of them or hard wire a device into the CAN to mimic or cancel inputs. That’s too time consuming to pull off without someone noticing.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    I’m definitely of the opinion that the average American would be far better off without the CIA. It has been a bumbling, incompetent and dangerous agency since its inception and never seems to be held accountable.

    Fortunately, I think there is a growing consensus on both the Left and the Right that something needs to change.

    The CIA should not be a civilian agency, it should simply be “military intelligence”. Truman regretted creating the CIA in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      What so many people are unaware of is exactly how many CIA men were in Dallas on 11/22/63 IN ADDITION to E. Howard Hunt. And military men, too. Actually, all the “players” were in town the night before. Then, note that LBJ put Allen Dulles, former head of the CIA who JFK fired, on the Warren commission. How convenient to attempt to keep a lid on what really happened. Also, J. Edgar Hoover was a good friend of LBJ and thus the FBI was used to “sanitize” much of what went on.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Could someone CIA etc, have caused the car the crash? Sure, but why would they bother? Because Hastings was going to ‘expose’ them?
    It’s far easier for the CIA or other agencies to use their lackeys in the media to sandbag a story.
    See the Gulf of Tonkin or WMDs in Iraq. A lot more people got killed in those situations.
    The last time the CIA got in any trouble was the mid 1970s. See the Church and Pike committee hearings. And what happened? A few retired early, but most went along in their jobs as usual. One later became POTUS, Bush senior.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    In related news, Planet X is coming!

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I need to refashion my tinfoil hat now .
    .
    Fun reading to be sure .
    .
    -Nate


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