Does anyone know what is going on?

There's a lot going on today. Quite coincidentally, I just visited West Chester (Nick Berg's hometown) where I saw a substantial police presence. Obviously, this was for Nick Berg's memorial service (which I am not crass enough to attend).

There's quite a bit of controversy as to whether Nick himself was a supporter or agent of al Qaida, created mostly by what has been described as a coincidence: his sharing of a laptop password with accused 9-11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.

In an account before the beheading story broke, Nick Berg was described as a "staunch supporter of the government position in Iraq" who "wanted to go over there and help."

A couple of things:

  • Nick Berg cannot have been both a supporter of al Qaida and the government position in Iraq. One or the other. (But why would al Qaida execute one of their own in this manner?)
  • Was there in fact a father/son split in the Berg family over Iraq?
  • I don't think anyone has all the facts yet.

    I don't have enough facts to form an opinion about Nick Berg, but my opinion of his murderers remains the same.

    So now it's wait and see....

    MORE: James Joyner has more here:

    Clearly, there is something odd going on here. On the one hand, the authorities apparently had reason to believe Berg had shady connections. On the other, they saw fit to release him—in a climate where they seem perfectly willing to hold people indefinitely given strong suspicion.
    Then there's Nick's brother Dave, who says that the man who shared the password could not have been Moussaoui:
    Meanwhile, the family said Berg had been questioned by the FBI more than a year ago about a contact he had with a terrorism suspect in 1999, while he was a student at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

    Some reports have said the suspect may have been Sept. 11 suspect Zacarias Moussaoui, but David Berg said that is not true. Nicholas Berg only went to school there in 1999; Moussaoui enrolled in a flight school in Norman in February 2001.

    Michael Berg told reporters Thursday that his son was cleared of any wrongdoing. He said Nicholas Berg met the suspect while riding the bus to classes, and had allowed the suspect to use his computer.

    As to the father, Michael Berg, his statement that his son "only saw the good in his captors until the last second of his life," and that "They did not know what they were doing. They killed their best friend." -- this simply cannot be reconciled with the statement that Nick was a "staunch supporter of the government position in Iraq." If Michael Berg was the source of both of these statements, then he lacks credibility, and information will have to come from elsewhere.

    There's also a good collection of links at Wizbang which show what a suspicious character Michael Berg is, but I refuse to draw any conclusions right now about Nick. (For all anyone knows, the laptop password incident might indicate that Nick was spying on al Qaida sympathizers.)

    All I can do now is agree with James Joyner. Something's odd.

    posted by Eric on 05.14.04 at 06:03 PM


    Michael Berg just watched his son being brutally murdered. Can we not allow this man some time to grieve?

    Ed Minchau   ·  May 15, 2004 4:42 AM

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