This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, May 12, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
Watch On the Record every weeknight at 10 p.m. ET!
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: We have two of Nick Berg's friends coming up. But first, Sandy Bauers, a reporter with "The Philadelphia Inquirer," has spoken to Nick Berg's family and joins us in West Chester on the phone.
Sandy, what did the family say to you?
SANDY BAUERS, "PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER" REPORTER: Well, Greta, this is his home, and -- and I think they felt that in the horror of the situation, they didn't want people to lose sight of Nick Berg, the person. He's someone that his family and friends saw as funny, outgoing, dramatic, compassionate -- An inventive guy -- bright -- someone with concern for the rest of the world. And I mean, here, this was the person they taught or grew up with or went on bike rides with. He was the kid who played tuba and saxophone and conducted off beat demonstrations about fermentation or cell phone technology in high school, and they just didn't want people to lose sight of that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sandy, why did he go to Iraq? He went in December, came back in February and then went back in March. What was the attraction to Iraq?
BAUERS: My understanding from family and friends is that he wanted to become part of their building process. He felt that that was a way to help win peace there, to help with the infrastructure, to go climb up communications towers and make sure they were sound, make sure they worked.
VAN SUSTEREN: His father, Sandy, has had very tough words for the FBI and for the United States government for the involvement in Iraq. Do any of his friends talk about what Nick's views were of the ongoing conflict in Iraq?
BAUERS: No, I don't know that.
BAUERS: I -- I'm -- I'm just not sure. I think we can surmise from his age, 26, sure, there must have been a sense of adventure. But his primary reason, as described to me, was he wanted to help in the country.
VAN SUSTEREN: He seemed quite adventurous, even attended a number of colleges. Why the moving around all the time?
BAUERS: He had started [out at] Cornell University (search), and he never finished. His father said that he grew to disdain the kind of job where the engineers are afraid to get their Jaguars dirty, so he wanted to be out doing things. He didn't want to be behind a desk. So he got out and did things, apparently.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, indeed, he did. Sandy, thank you very much.
Two friends of Nick Berg join us in a moment. But first, the president speaks out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to express my condolences to the family and friends of Nicholas Berg. Nicholas Berg was an innocent civilian who was in Iraq to help build a free Iraq. There is no justification for the brutal execution of Nicholas Berg, no justification whatsoever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us from Nick's home town of West Chester, Pennsylvania, is Bruce Hauser, a family friend. Nick's former high school teacher and friend, Skip Best, joins us by phone.
Bruce, when was the last time you talked to Nick?
BRUCE HAUSER, NICK BERG'S FRIEND: I believe the last time I spoke with Nick was probably late January, early February. At that time, just in passing, said, Hello, Nick, how are you doing? As always, "Hey, Mr. Hauser, what's up?" -- So that's the last time we actually spoke.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. That was between the first trip to Iraq and the second. Did you know when you saw him that he'd already been to Iraq?
HAUSER: Not at that time, I had no knowledge, no.
VAN SUSTEREN: Skip, when was the last time you spoke to Nick?
SKIP BEST, NICK BERG'S FORMER TEACHER: Hello. My last talk with Nick would have been back at -- or, let's see, not Easter time, Thanksgiving, actually, when he -- he just popped into my classroom to check in and relive some old times. And it was just great to see him. I spent 10 minutes with him then.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know what he was doing at the time just prior to when you saw him,Skip?
BEST: Well, at that time point, I think he was really just getting his business going here, and that's all I talked to him about. I had no idea that he would be in the Middle East. My recollections of Nick are as a student, and one of those special students that kept in touch with the teacher over the years after graduation.
VAN SUSTEREN: Bruce, how long have you known Nick?
HAUSER: I've known Nick for approximately 23 years.
VAN SUSTEREN: And what kind of kid was he growing up?
HAUSER: When I moved into the neighborhood, I believe Nick was somewhere around probably 4 or 5 years old. Nick was a great kid. I watched him grow up to be a great young adult. Nick was always respectful of his elders. All the time, seeing him in the yard, he would always ask, "How're you doing, Mr.Hauser, Mrs. Hauser"? Any time he could be a help us, he'd see us working in the yard, "can I give you a hand?" A lot of times, I needed help, any time I would ask him, he'd gladly come and do it. Nick was just a great kid.
I knew there was something special about Nick when he was a young man, probably about the age of 9 or 10. Nick wasn't like most kids who liked to ride their bikes in the neighborhood and just run off. Nick stayed close to his dad, watched his dad and worked with his dad on projects around the house. And probably about the time he was 10 to 12 years old, he was doing a lot of those projects on his own. I told his parents on several occasions, this is going to be a great kid.
VAN SUSTEREN: Skip, is that consistent with your thoughts as a teacher of Nick's?
BEST: Yes, it really is. He was in my elective class called "Power and Energy," and I didn't knew at that time that he would end up in that kind of a field because his academic level was really high. And he was -- he was special in that he just enjoyed everything. He was...
VAN SUSTEREN: Skip, in a way, I guess the thing that sort of -- you know, that I feel terrible about tonight, and I think everybody else does, you know, why would he go off to an area that we all know is so dangerous? I mean, our military is armed, and the military's over there. They're armed. Our journalists over there, they have full protection, or we give them as much protection as we can. Why would he wander off to a war zone that everybody knows is exceedingly dangerous?
BEST: Well, I really don't know his motivations because I didn't talk to him, but I can surmise, knowing him in the past, that he felt that he had something to give. And believe it or not, he wandered all over the world. He was a believer in the fact that the Third World needed to be lifted up, given some help, a lift up from the lack of technology, the lack of communication. And maybe it was naivete on his part, to some degree, that he could relate with those people the way he could relate with everyone else because he really was a people person.
VAN SUSTEREN: Bruce, you spent four years in the Air Force. You're a military guy yourself. I mean, wars are dangerous. Why do you think he went off to this very dangerous place, not part of the military and certainly not part of an organization that was protecting him?
HAUSER: I think Nick did like a lot other contractors. Nick saw this as an opportunity to get some business for his own business he had set up in West Chester. At the same time, he saw a chance to do what he's done around the neighborhood, saw a chance to help out some people. Nick was a very good person about wanting to help people.
VAN SUSTEREN: And indeed...
HAUSER: He was just that kind of guy.
VAN SUSTEREN: And indeed, a tragedy -- a tragedy all the way around. Bruce, Skip, thank you both very much.
Content and Programming Copyright 2004 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2004 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, L.L.C.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.