After e-mailing Reines a series of pointed questions about the State Department's handling of CNN's use of late Ambassador Christopher Stevens' diary, the journalist's e-mail exchange (published in its entirety by Buzzfeed) with Reines quickly escalated.
"I believe that you of all people, after famously being accused of violating agreed upon ground rules and questionable sourcing, would agree that it's important for a news organization to maintain its own integrity if it is to be trusted," Reines replied to Hastings' initial e-mail. "That begins with keeping its word. If you can't manage that, then don't give it."
Reines was likely referring to Hastings' June 2010 Rolling Stone article about former US Army General Stanley McChrystal, "The Runaway General," which ultimately led to his resignation.
Hastings responds with some loaded commentary, and it's all downhill from there, with Reines' ending their e-mail back-and-forth by calling Hastings an "unmitigated asshole" and telling him to "have a good day...And by good day, I mean Fuck Off."
Though his line of questioning was opinionated to say the least, BuzzFeed stood by Hastings in a comment to Politico.
"He [Reines] is a public official whose comments are newsworthy, and help illuminate the State Department's response to the crisis in Libya," spokesperson Ashley McCollum said. She declined to comment on Hastings' line of questioning or Reines' response.
"Sticks and stones," Reines told Politico of the e-mails. "I think the exchange speaks for itself."
"He was absolutely not correct," Reines added. "But not being correct seems to be his trademark."