Are you listening?
Most of us had never heard of Staff Sergeant Joe Biggs until a few days after the death of award-winning investigative journalist Michael Hastings. Since then, Biggs has been all over our TV sets and Twitter feeds; not to mention our FaceBooks, YouTubes and yes, even our Pinterest boards.
Since the news of Hastings’ controversial car accident Biggs seems to have his heart in the right place while he’s desperately looking for answers, but as the old proverb goes,
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Biggs Reaches Out To KTLA
On June 19, 2013 — the day after Hastings’ unexplained “accident”, Biggs Tweets at KTLA reporter, Carolyn Costello, asking to be contacted. He wanted to come forward with an email he claims Hastings blind copied him on the day before his death.
Biggs’ next Tweet was A Re-Tweet (RT) of an old Tweet from Hastings that was dated on Dec. 7, 2011.
I am unsure why Biggs RTd this nearly two-year old message from Hastings, but it was important enough to him that he also took a picture of this same Tweet and then Tweeted that too. Was this the last Tweet he had received from Michael? It seems like a long time ago for a “good friend”, especially considering Michael Tweeted frequently.
Although purely speculative on my part, it appears Biggs was putting something out on Twitter since he had begun contacting news reporters. Maybe this was his way of establishing — for their benefit, that he and Michael were indeed friends.
Either way, it’s a little odd and enough to warrant at least a momentary head-scratching before we move on.
Vetting The Vet’s Email & Breaking The Story
KTLA’s Carolyn Costello told me that after talking to Biggs, she sat on the story overnight while the veracity of the email was put to the test. Those that were copied on the email were other reputable journalists and colleagues of Hastings’ who — when contacted, confirmed they too received this same email sent from Hastings’s account.
I wanted to know what had been the vetting process of Biggs before breaking the story and according to Costello,
“Once we confirmed from Hastings’ colleagues that they did receive the email from Hastings’ account – we felt comfortable going with the story.”
Because the LAPD has said they suspect no foul play, one has to wonder how anyone can know whether Hastings’ himself wrote and sent that email. Just because it was sent from his account does not prove that he himself sent it.
Is there any investigation – by the authorities or media, into his email and other online accounts to see if he had been hacked?
No one seems to know or if they do, no one is talking about it.
To be clear, I am not saying Michael Hastings didn’t send the email, but unless there is a real investigation we will never know. People’s email accounts get hacked all of the time, sending out links and whatever else the hacker wants sent; we also know that whoever receives what is sent from our hacked account will see that it originates from us even though we never sent anything.
Of course, I would not expect KTLA or Costello to know the answer to this and I don’t believe they falsely reported anything, but the question regarding whether Hastings’ email account was hacked is legit.
Wait, What Time Is It?
The now infamous Hastings email should be familiar to everyone, but in the event you missed it, it’s here for reference in all of its redacted glory.
KTLA’s Costello assured me that Biggs – at least with her, never claimed to be “best friends” with Hastings and that in fact Biggs told her months would pass without hearing from him. She also said that it may have been as many as 9-months since Biggs had heard from Michael prior to receiving this final chilling email, but she couldn’t exactly remember (other interviews of Biggs has him saying about 2-3 mo).
Also according to Costello, Biggs told her that Hastings had blind copied him on a similar email in the past. She did not elaborate when that was or in what context or what the content of that email had been. It’s possible Biggs didn’t elaborate and we can only assume it is unrelated to the current incident.
Timing however, is everything. Knowing the date and context of the previous email may lead to clues to this final one. How similar was it? Was it written just as cryptically?
During Biggs’ on-camera KTLA interview with Costello, he tells those watching,
“Monday morning, I woke-up and I get an email and it was very panicked…”
This statement is made at the 1:01 mark in the following video from the June 21, 2013 KTLA segment featuring Biggs.
Time Doesn’t Lie
You will notice in the still image — as well as the image shown in the video, that the email is time-stamped, confirming that it was sent on, “Mon. Jun 17, 2013 at 12:56 PM”. Typically the time-stamp on any email you receive will reflect the time-zone you are in when receiving it.
If Biggs were on the west coast at the time, it would make sense for him to say he received the email “Monday morning when I woke up”, but that is not the case. There is no way that Biggs could have received Hastings’ email in the “morning” because Hastings sent the email at 12:56 PM EASTERN Time.
I can only say that it is possible Biggs goes to school and works nights or over-nights somewhere and therefore sleeps during the day. If that is the case, then whatever time he woke-up Monday would be “morning” to him. Biggs statement of “Monday morning” was repeated in at least one other interview, one he later had with talk-show host and well-known conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
I would like to clear several things up that have been muddying the waters surrounding the details of Hastings’ death. Things that seem to be originating from SSG Biggs; things that could derail or hinder a real investigation, if there is ever going to be one.
I have contacted Biggs multiple times over many days, he has yet to respond.
The Media Miscalculates
In nearly all of the media coverage of Hastings’ death, it has been reported that Michael sent that email approximately 15-hours before he was killed.
That estimate is incorrect because Michael was killed in California, i.e. pacific time. The calculations of time between sending the email and his death, made by the press (and others), is not factoring in or acknowledging the time-zone discrepancy.
The fact is, Hastings sent the email more than 18-hours before his fatal crash, which occurred just before 4:25 AM PACIFIC time on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.
A Memorial In Vermont
On June 23, 2013, Michael Hastings’ family and friends gathered for Hastings’ memorial service to say goodbye to their son, grandson, brother, husband, friend and colleague. Biggs too was in attendance (I confirmed this with another of Hastings’ friends who was also there).
That same day Biggs Tweeted one image from the memorial as well as another Tweet saying,
“I don’t want conspiracy stuff flying around. I need hard facts. Im trying to set up an investigation and all this crap sets me back[.]“
As you can see in the screen shot Biggs also makes mention of now having a “film producer” and that he’s “gonna make this big”.
Is this “film producer” Alex Jones by chance? I have reason to believe it is as you will see and if it is, this gives us an indication of how early on the two connected.
Did Biggs not know Jones is the conspiracy king? It’s worth asking since Biggs is Tweeting about not wanting any “conspiracy stuff”.
Biggs’ Big Media Tour
After first releasing the email to KTLA, Biggs — by default, has become the quasi-spokesperson for the Michael Hastings camp and Tweeted the story link to other news outlets and reporters.
In the days and weeks thereafter he was seen on several other news channels; like FOX News’ America Live with Megyn Kelly, Russian Today Breaking the Set with Abby Martin, Info Wars with Alex Jones, and he has also received coverage by San Diego based freelance journalist, Kimberly Dvorak on San Diego 6 and more.
To date, Jones has had Biggs on Info Wars at least three times. The first being on June 26, 2013, two days after Hastings’ memorial service, which was the day Biggs had Tweeted about a “film producer” being on his side. In this interview Biggs again says he found Hastings’ email on “Monday morning”.
In addition to that Biggs says when he later found out Michael had died he contacted some of the Buzzfeed people — that were copied on that email, asking if any of them thought the whole situation was weird.
According to Biggs’ interviews, he received only one response back which merely said, “Yeh”.
Biggs believes — and has said in many interviews, the other recipients of the email (as well as Hastings’ wife, family and friends) are scared.
And In Walks Alex Jones
On July 11, 2013, three days before Kimberly Dvorak’s San Diego 6 piece on Biggs, he is again a guest on Jones’ Info Wars. This was his second appearance (the first being June 26, 2013). This is the piece in which Alex Jones appears to be embellishing information. At no time on-camera does Biggs say Hastings’ “body was missing” or that the “family did not consent to a cremation” as Jones reported.
In this interview it is Jones — not Biggs, that says Michael Hastings’ body is missing. It is Jones that says Michael’s wife and family didn’t consent to cremation.
The problem is — throughout the show, Biggs allows Jones to continue saying these things without actually saying, “no” and/or correcting him. It is easy to see why any viewers or listeners would believe the information to be true. I mean, come on, Biggs was sitting right there talking to the man while he was saying these things. Jones even asks Biggs at one point if there was anything that needed to be said or focused on and still Biggs did not correct him.
Is Biggs awe-struck or maybe even intimidated by Jones or did Biggs actually say those things off-camera and Alex is taking the lead?
Or, is Biggs just happy that someone, anyone, is giving the Hastings’ case the time it deserves…even if it is by Alex Jones?
So much for those, “hard facts” Biggs professed to want. So much for no “conspiracy stuff flying around.”
When Jones asked Biggs about Elise Jordan and the family’s plans going forward, Biggs sounded resigned when he said, “Yeh, she’s gonna do her own thing I’m sure”.
Biggs also thanks Alex’s followers saying they have been following him on Twitter since his first appearance. Every time Biggs is on Jones’ show his Followers increase by large amounts and more — of what so far is questionable info (missing bodies and whatnot) gets passed around.
Jones’ audience is not small by any measure. Even 1000 of his followers Tweeting, posting, and otherwise sharing would easily reach tens of thousands of people in a very short time.
Jones and Biggs have been planning a LA trip with Jones’ team. In the last interview on Info Wars Jones tells Biggs that he will take care of his plane ticket after the show.
Jones said the purpose of the trip was 50% to draw attention and 50% to research the situation from the scene and talk to residents, etc.
They may already be on the ground in LA, however Biggs hasn’t been Tweeting anything about it. In fact, his Twitter account has been silent for more than four days.
Is There Reason to Doubt Some Of These “Facts”?
Two days after that interview with Jones, Kimberly Dvorak runs a piece with a similar screaming headline, which she has since edited. Her headline read much the same as the ones Jones’ was — and still is, running.
The whole “missing body” and non-consensual cremation information was again being highlighted, but this time in the main-stream media.
Although the print portion of that coverage has been changed, the video — where she also talks about this stuff, is — so far, still intact.
Did Dvorak talk to Alex Jones or otherwise take his headlines as facts since Biggs had appeared on Jones’ show twice by this point? Why has she since edited the information out of her piece without explanation if they were correct?
Which of the two — Dvorak or Biggs, is being dishonest? Obviously someone is because…
Biggs Says, “I Never Said That!”
Wrapped-up — and probably overwhelmed, by his 15-minutes of fame, we have heard Biggs’ say a lot of things over the past several weeks and we have been told that he’s said things, like the headlines about Hastings’ “missing body” and the cremation that Jones and Kimberly Dvorak reported on.
However, Biggs says,
“Nope, I never said that”, but only in relation to Dvorak’s piece.
Funny he’s not denying Alex Jones’ reporting of the same things.
What Other Things Has Biggs Said?
Biggs told us (via his media interviews) that Michael did not tell his wife — Elise Jordan, what “Big story” he was working on in order to protect her. This goes directly against what Jon Avalon — of CNN”s Reliable Sources, has reported. Jon says that Elise herself is finishing the “Big story” Hastings had been working on.
Biggs has also said that Michael had an attorney who he had provided all of his information to; that Elise has hired a private investigator; and even that Elise believes Michael was “murdered” and that she vows to “take down” the people who killed him.
Would Elise — or the family want it to be public knowledge they were privately investigating? I doubt it.
If Elise — who is a fantastic journalist in her own right, thinks Michael was murdered, would she want Biggs saying so on the evening news? I doubt it.
If Elise “vowed to take down” whoever killed Michael — if that’s what she believes as Biggs has told us repeatedly, would she want that too be plastered all over the news and internet?
Like everything else, I doubt that too.
Who has authorized Biggs to make all of these statements about Michael, Elise and their family? Who — if anyone, has provided him with any of this information? And what — if any, of it is actually true?
Is SSG Biggs Creating Controversy Or Stepping In Shit?
To address the most controversial piece of information — allegedly provided to Kimberly Dvorak by Biggs, are the statements that Hastings’ “body was missing” and that authorities cremated Hastings without warning, or “consent” from Elise Jordan or any other Hastings family member.
This – as reported by Dvorak on July 13, 2013, has gone viral on the web, especially in all of the hard-core conspiracy circles.
In the image below you can see when Dvorak published her piece, you can also see that it was edited on July 18, 2013. The current headline is not her original headline. Unfortunately Digital Archive (the Way Back Machine) had not yet crawled and archived the site. As you will shortly see, I did contact Dvorak and ask about this.
Whether the missing body and cremation without consent statements themselves are true, I don’t know. I do know that Biggs outright denies making them, but again, only in relation to Dvorak’s reporting and not Alex Jones’ which was — and is, virtually the same.
Why is he being partial to Jones?
You can see Biggs’ July 16, 2013 response when a Twitter follower asked about Hastings’ “missing body”, etc linking to Dvorak’s article and video (this is just one of several similar Tweets Biggs made on this matter).
Did Dvorak misquote Biggs or did she just use information from the July 11, 2013 piece on Alex Jones’ Info Wars?
Or, did Biggs actually say these things to her?
If he did say them, why is he denying them and why did Dvorak edit her print headline and story on July 18? She did not do a formal retraction, correction or even mention she edited it, but the log and the now missing statements show that she did.
As I said, I contacted Dvorak (just as I did Costello and others) to get clarification on whether Biggs made these statements to her and to be sure she was aware he is publicly denying having said them.
On this matter, Dvorak said unequivocally ,
“ I have Biggs on tape.”
She also cautioned that,
“The story is really in the early phases as FOIAs have gone out and other leads [are] being followed.”
So, according to Dvorak, she has Biggs saying these things on tape.
This is disturbing, because essentially, Dvorak is the only main stream journalist giving the Hastings story the time of day. Most other’s have moved on to the next story or ignored it to begin with.
We need the Hastings story to be told, but we also need accuracy in the reporting. I’m not saying Dvorak lied, but it’s obvious someone is not being totally honest here.
And The Plot Thickens…
The allegations that Michael’s family had not consented to cremation are valid, but only if the allegations are true. Although I am not endorsing the website — Above Top Secret (ATS), it is however, worth mentioning that in what was a reasonable and rational discussion on their forums discussing Jones’ and Dvorak’s news coverage, an ATS member” made a post on July 17, 2013 (the day after the Alex Jones piece) stating they were a Hastings’ family member and that this information regarding Michael’s body and cremation is untrue.
The poster also had a few things to say about Biggs himself.
Of course, to my knowledge, this member’s claim of a Hastings’ family affiliation has not been verified, but I feel the message is relevant and worth including in this particular piece.
Elise Jordan CAN Clear The Air
Considering much of the information reported in the media and circulating on the internet can be traced to Biggs, I think it’s important to establish who he is a little better — especially now that Alex Jones is courting him.
I tried contacting Elise and have sat on this story for a week, but thus far she has chosen not to comment. It would be helpful (to everyone) if she would confirm or deny whether or not Biggs is speaking on behalf of her and/or Michael’s family and to set the record straight about the things that Biggs and those who have interviewed him are saying.
Besides the Hastings email, has Biggs provided anything at all to support any of the claims he’s made to journalists, claims that are being shared as truths by tens or hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) on the internet?
If not, then might I ask why the media is allowing him to be the Michael Hastings poster child?
Is Biggs Becoming Persona Non Grata?
Three days after Dvorak’s coverage regarding allegations of Michael’s unauthorized cremation — and one day after Biggs Tweeted denying Dvorak’s reporting, Biggs posts lyrics to “Going Down” a song by band Sick Puppies, which was then followed by a Tweet referencing Elise Jordan and addressing a follower’s concern that Biggs had stopped his quest to get to the truth about Michael. Biggs replies,
“I’m not stopping. Just giving a lil space so she [Elise]feels better [.]“
He doesn’t say, “until she feels better” as in time to grieve, he instead says, “so she feels better”.
Better about what? How Biggs has handled himself in this situation, maybe?
It appears that Elise (and the Hastings family) may not be happy about the particular kind of media coverage Biggs is generating or his way of going about “investigating” his friends’ death.
Did they not want Hastings’ email released to the press? Would they prefer Biggs wasn’t so actively working with Alex Jones? Are they hurt or pissed-off because of the reports about Hastings’ body being allegedly “missing” and that the “family didn’t consent to cremation?
Maybe Elise and the Hastings’ family prefer to keep everything quiet while they conduct their own investigation and are disappointed that Biggs is running around like some Jr. member of Wikileaks…
Is Biggs A Bad Guy?
Who knows, but I think his many vows to do what he can to keep Michael’s name and story in the media is what is driving him closer to Alex Jones and what looks to be further from the Hastings family. Few media outlets — especially in the mainstream, are talking about Hastings at all anymore so it would be hard to fault a grieving friend for taking what he can get, but at what cost?
Could Biggs just be going with the Alex Jones flow regardless of what flies out of Jones’ mouth, just so he can keep Michael’s name in the news? If so, why would he deny Dvorak’s same coverage? Dvorak was being a champion for the Hastings’ cause.
What is really going on between these three and who, if any of them, are telling the truth?
Is There A Moral To This Story?
A moral? Absolutely, and it’s about having respect, consideration and integrity.
Elise Jordan — at the very least, deserves respect and consideration for her wishes and how she wants to proceed. Michael was her husband after all and Biggs needs to tread carefully so as not to harm or intrude upon any investigation she is trying to conduct. This includes not spilling the beans, if and when there are beans to spill.
Biggs needs to take a hard look at his involvement with Alex Jones. Would Michael approve of this course of action? I don’t know, but I do know Michael was a serious journalist who knew when and when not to talk about the things he was investigating. The Alex Jones’ style of “journalism” is far from the excessively thorough and respectable work Michael did.
I never knew Michael personally, but I knew his work well and he was one of few journalists today that you could count on, not just to tell a story, but to tell the story with so much integrity that it demanded your attention and your respect.
For the reporters out there…
The stories you are telling should not be treated like a status update on social media. Stop taking people’s word for things, vet everything you can before you share your stories with us. You are news people, not entertainers. We want real news with real facts we can talk about and share and not be embarrassed two days later because you didn’t get it right.
And, if you do get it wrong?
Have enough respect for the audience that feeds you and the decency to tell us you got it wrong. The internet increases your viewing or listening audience and/or your readership beyond what was ever possible before.
You have a responsibility to “The People”, not your networks or publications. This was something Michael understood well.