A former cybersecurity advisor to President George W. Bush says a sophisticated computer hack could have been the cause of the automobile accident that claimed the life of journalist Michael Hastings last week in Los Angeles.
Richard Clarke, a State Department official-turned-special advisor to several United States presidents, said the early morning auto crash last Tuesday was “consistent with a car cyberattack,” raising new questions about the death of the award-winning journalist.
Hastings died last week when his 2013 Mercedes C250 coupe collided with a tree in Los Angeles, California on the morning of June 18. He was reportedly traveling at a high rate of speed and failed to stop at a red light moments before the single-car crash. He was only 33.
Speaking to Huffington Post this week, Clarke said that a cyberattack waged at the vehicle could have caused the fatal collision.
“What has been revealed as a result of some research at universities is that it’s relatively easy to hack your way into the control system of a car, and to do such things as cause acceleration when the driver doesn’t want acceleration, to throw on the brakes when the driver doesn’t want the brakes on, to launch an air bag,” Clarke told The Huffington Post. “You can do some really highly destructive things now, through hacking a car, and it’s not that hard.”
“So if there were a cyberattack on the car — and I’m not saying there was,” Clarke continued, “I think whoever did it would probably get away with it.”
The Los Angeles Police Department said they don’t expect foul play was involved in the crash, but an investigation has been opened nonetheless.
In an email reportedly sent by Hastings hours before the crash, he told colleagues that he thought he was the target of a federal investigation.
“Hey [redacted}, the Feds are interviewing my ‘close friends and associates,’” Hastings wrote 15 hours before the crash.
Personally, I would bet Hastings was drunk, or stoned, or just driving like an idiot, and the crash was his fault, but this is an interesting theory