This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 14, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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TONY SNOW, GUEST HOST:  But first, our top story tonight.  American businessman Nick Berg, whose brutal beheading in Iraq shocked the nation this week, was laid to rest today in Westchester, Pennsylvania.  But there's still a host of unanswered questions about his detention in Iraq and the bizarre link between Berg and Zacarias Moussaoui, the man known as the 20th 9/11 hijacker.

Joining us now from Washington, Elaine Shannon, an investigative reporter from "Time" magazine looking into the story.

Elaine, you look at this story and there are a lot of pieces that really don't seem to fit. Let's start first with the link to Zacarias Moussaoui.  Most people are now saying just an innocent theft of an e-mail address.

ELAINE SHANNON, TIME MAGAZINE:  That was the FBI's  conclusion. Zacarias Moussaoui lived in Norman, Oklahoma from February 2001 till late August 2001, when he left to go to Minnesota where he was arrested.  In tracking back Moussaoui's actions in the United States to see if he had associates, the FBI spent a lot of time  looking at people he'd met at the mosque in Norman, people he had encountered in other places, and who they paled around with, to see if there was a sleeper cell that he was associated with.  And in the course of this, they found somebody that had used Berg's e-mail.

SNOW:  OK, they -- but at this point, there's no link between the two.  In fact, the FBI at least at this point has disavowed it.  What do you...

SHANNON:  They interviewed him.  And he explained he'd met a guy on the bus going between classes, and that guy wanted access to - e-mail access to the Internet.  So he let him use his e-mail address.  This guy took the e-mail and gave it to a lot of other people.  And so, it got kind of spread around.  The guy, I'm told, had a  connection to the flight school where Moussaoui ended up.


SHANNON:  So there were some students there that probably had this e-mail.  And that's how it came up.

SNOW:  Help us out a little bit also with Nick Berg's detention in Iraq.  Apparently he was detained by Iraqi officials riding around in a cab.  But apparently he had on his person, I want you to confirm or deny, a copy of the Koran and an anti-Semitic tract?  I mean, here you've got a Jewish-American in Iraq.  What's the deal?

SHANNON:  I read that.  I don't know -- I can't confirm that on my own and know that he had a passport with an Israeli stamp in it.    He told associates about that.  And he also was carrying around a lot of electronics equipment because he liked to repair communications towers.  And that may have been enough for the Iraqi police to take him in.

Of course, you know there's -- the family thinks that the U.S.   military was holding him, not the Iraqi police.

SNOW:  Right.  And at this point, nobody could get to the bottom of that.  Or can they?

SHANNON:  Well, there's two sides to this.


SHANNON:  The family believes that the military is telling police  what to do.  The police are saying, well, we didn't have him.  The military had him.  There's an e-mail that said the military had him.  The FBI says, well, we talked to him, but we didn't tell them to keep him there.

SNOW:  Right.

SHANNON:  And in fact, we decided he was OK and they should let him out, and let him out of the country.

SNOW:  But there are a lot of pieces here, as I said before, that don't fit or at least seem a little bit odd.  Does anybody have any clue  exactly what he was doing in Iraq?  I know we've been told he wanted to build radio towers.  But the company he owns isn't incorporated.  There are no incorporation papers.  He makes his way over there.  What was he doing?

SHANNON:  Well, all the stories I've read suggest that he was having a great adventure, that he was a very bold guy.  He was fearless.  He enjoyed hanging out there.  And he was hanging out.

And Iraqis, other Americans, other  business people who were over there thought that he was very foolhardy at times to be going where he was going.  He went to Mosul by himself without an interpreter and a bodyguard.  And he was taking public transportation sometimes.  And he was pretty visible, because he's a large guy.  He had a real short haircut.  I think people probably thought he was military.  And it would have been easy for somebody who wanted to kidnap him.  And in the current climate, kidnapping's pretty easy to mark him as a target.

SNOW:  The other thing is the military actually offered to take him home free of charge.  He said no.  And one of the things he  apparently told U.S. officials  is you don't understand these people like I do.

SHANNON:  Well, that's possible.  And his father has said, well,  he was just sick of the U.S. military and the FBI.  He wanted nothing to do with them out of the -- after the detention.  And he was going to make his own way.  He was obviously a free spirit, a very independent-minded person.

SNOW:  Is there any -- do you have any theories at this point, other than being a free spirit over there, and taking foolish risks, any other theories about what he was  doing?

SHANNON:  Well, you can theorize eyes all you want.  I know that the FBI concluded he was not a spy, that he was not a new John  Walker Linde.  That must've crossed their mind when they had him in their files from 2002, and they'd cleared him then, but then he shows up again in a rather strange position.  And they probably spent a lot of  extra time checking out does he have some associates that we  missed the first time.

SNOW:  All right, Elaine Shannon, thank you very much.

SHANNON:  Thank you.

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