|This is a partial
transcript from The O'Reilly
Factor, February 14,
2002. Click here
to order the complete transcript.
HOST: Thanks for staying with
us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.
In the second Personal
Story segment tonight, Emmy-award
winning actor James Woods. He has
made more than 20 films and is considered
one of the finest character actors in
Last August, Mr.
Woods found himself on a plane going from
Boston to Los Angeles. Surrounding
him in first class were four men who
appeared to be of Middle Eastern
origin. Later, Mr. Woods told the
FBI it was very suspicious. And
they interviewed him after 9/11.
Mr. Woods also has a new movie called John
Q with Denzel Washington, which
All right now, let's
-- 9/11 happens. You're sitting at
home watching the horrifying video as we
all are, right?
pops into your mind?
first I have to back up and tell you
about the flight that I took. The
flight I took was actually on August
1st. And I have not talked about
this in the press until this day because
there was a lot of misinformation that
came out about it.
I was on a flight,
without going into the details of what
made me suspicious of these four men,
although it would have been blatantly
obvious to the most casual observer, I
took it upon myself to go to the flight
attendant and ask to speak to the pilot
of the plane. The first officer
came out. I reported to him that I
felt that the four men, and I said,
"Can you look over my shoulder and
see who I'm talking about?"
And he said, "Yeah." I
said I think they're going to hijack this
plane. I mean, everything
they're doing, and I explained to him
these details, which I've been asked to
keep private, until whatever
jurisdiction, you know -- whatever trials
may take place, their behavior was such
that I felt that they were going to
hijack the plane.
I also said I'm very
much aware of how serious it is to say on
an American aircraft in flight the
WOODS: So I'm
saying this because I really have reason
to believe it's true. I found out
later that not only was -- did he make a
report, but the flight attendant also
made a report of my suspicions to the
When I got home that
night, it had been a very turbulent
flight, I had said to this woman
I'm dating, and my girlfriend and
my best friend, she said, "How was
the flight?" And I said,
"Well aside from the terrorists and
the turbulence, it was fine," which
was now in retrospect not such a very
funny joke, but it was August 1 and
nobody was thinking along those lines.
when 9/11 happened, we were all
stunned. And we all happened to be
at my house that evening. And my
friend Scott said to me, "You know,
remember that flight you took in
August?" I said, "Yes,
I've been thinking about it all
day." He said, "Well,
maybe you should call the
FBI." And I said, "I'm
sure they're being inundated."
But I thought it
over and I called the local office.
And within two minutes got ahold of a
very intelligent young man, a special
agent there, who took the report.
And I said, "I hope I'm not wasting
your time." He said,
"Well, we have so many reports
coming in." And he said,
"And by the way, even if this leads
to something, we don't like to backwash
information to people, because in case
they have to go to a trial and be
witnesses or whatever, so you won't hear
I said, "Well,
great." And he said, "But
we appreciate your calling."
Quarter to 7:00 the next morning, I get a
phone call that actually wakes me
up. And I say,
"Hi." And they say,
"Hi, this is -- I won't use their
name, but the special agent, who's now
been my contact and his
partner." And they said,
"We want to talk to you about the
flight that you took in August. I
said, "Oh, did the manifest match of
any of the flights yesterday and my
flight?" He said we can't tell
you that. I said, "Well, look,
I'll get ready and you know, I'll come
down to the federal building."
He said, "That's OK, we're outside
your house. We'll just wait for
7:15. So this is serious.
to seven in the morning. And said
-- and I -- and this is the only funny
part of any of this. I said,
"How did you know where I
lived?" And there was a
pause. He said, "We're the
FBI, thank you."
WOODS: So they
came in. And I said, "Look,
I'm dying to know, were these the
guys? And he said, "Well,
we've had 36,000 tips in one day.
And there's two of us and we're going to
be at your house all this morning.
So you can do the math, but we can't tell
you." You know, so since then,
I have identified for sure two of them as
two of the terrorists.
actually were not on Flight 11, but one
was on flight 175 and one was on flight
77. And I've been told
unofficially, not by the FBI, but by
someone else in a -- actually a higher
level of government, believe it or not,
just through a coincidence, through a
mutual friend, that all four of
them were terrorists involved.
is -- so it was basically a rehearsal,
what these guys were doing?
Right. But what's significant about
this is that it was a rehearsal with four
men. And I can't say it as a fact
that they were the four, but I've been
led to believe without going into the
details of how, that they were on
different flights. So the notion
that they were separate cells when -- and
this is tricky territory, but I think in
the Moussaoui trial, there's going to be
some contention that, you know, he was a
soldier and didn't know what was going to
...until he stepped on the plane and then
decided in a fit of good conscience not
to be a terrorist anymore. In fact,
the fact that these two people were
identified by myself and
other people, and were on the
Boston-L.A. flight, and ended up dying on
two other flights of the four flights on
September 11 shows that they were...
an amazing story.
this is the first time I've ever heard
this. This is the first time you're
telling the story.
Moussaoui one of those guys?
No. Not that I know of.
WOODS: I mean,
I don't remember him as such. I
remember two of the guys so
...because one was that guy with the
WOODS: I mean,
you'll see him -- I can't remember the
name now, but he was so specifically
clear because he actually looked like an
are you a type of guy -- so it was just
you and these four guys in First
Class. Nobody else else?
WOODS: No, no.
There were a couple other guys?
they nervous, too or was it just you
picking these guys out?
know, as I explained to the FBI, they
said what was your first instinct?
And aside from certain things, like four
guys getting on to a transcontinental
flight without any hand luggage,
who -- it's funny. I notice
behavior because I guess I'm an actor and
it's kind of what I...
you always watch people, right?
WOODS: I just
kind of observe people.
something I've always been fascinated
by. Sort of like that scene in
"Annie Hall," where Woody Allen
and Diane Keaton sit and watch people and
sort of talk about who they might be.
And there were four
guys. When the flight attendant,
who was a woman, came up to them, they
literally ignored her like she didn't
exist, which is sort of a kind of
Taliban, you know, idea of womanhood, as
you know, not even a human being. I
mean, it seems their disrespect for women
is so extraordinary.
And they didn't
order alcohol. And they just -- and
-- I can't go into the details, but it
just -- it was -- as I explained to the
FBI, as if you were at a nightclub and
everybody's enjoying an act on the
stage. And the camera behind that
act on the stage and sort of panning the
audience. And everybody's
focused on the singer, except four people
sort of in the room kind of doing
something else and connected to each
WOODS: And you
so -- they said to me, you know,
"What made -- what did you think
these guys were?" I said,
well, I thought they were either four law
enforcement officers or four terrorists
in that they had that thing that -- guys
who are undercover or on a mission have
between each other. And it's
impossible to explain.
Well, you were lucky. You're
absolutely lucky that they didn't decide
to do it a month before.
WOODS: By the
way, one thing I must clear up...
has been sort of misreported in the
press. I did not report this to the
FBI before September 11.
Right, just the FAA.
WOODS: And it
was only done by, as I understand it, the
flight crew, which I had been told
later. And you know, there are
people who love to take pot shots.
I can't tell you...
Why? Why? I mean, I think you
did the right thing.
no, but they'll say oh, you told the FBI
and they didn't do anything. That's
completely and utterly wrong.
Look, don't worry about those
pinheads. I mean, you did exactly
the right thing.
WOODS: No, but
I mean, you know, if you've worked with
these people, as I have, they are
incredibly dedicated people. And
it's just something I want to go on the
record as saying...
had nothing but great experience with
in some of your interviews, you have been
very hawkish against the
terrorists. I mean, probably the
most outspoken Hollywood guy. And
you used the word "towel heads"
one time. Did you take a lot of
heat on that?
but I don't pay attention to heat.
I mean, I don't explain, and I don't
complain, and I don't apologize.
to say that in pejorative way, would you
have taken that back?
WOODS: Well, I
do think at times when you feel
passionate about something, there are
times that all of us, I'm sure you have,
and I know I have...
...allowed my tongue to sort of get out
ahead of my brain a little bit.
WOODS: And by
the way, clearly, I would not want to
hurt anybody's feelings. But on the
other hand, it's not like after thousands
of incidents of terrorism in the past 20
or 30 years, that you know, we have to
worry a lot about like Swedish
WOODS: I mean,
so the bottom line is, you know, I said
something that I think was rude and
probably not very nice. But on the
other hand, I do feel, and there was some
consternation from somebody, one of these
leagues or something, who said, you know,
it was the incorrect thing to say.
But the point I was
trying to make was that I think of the
energy that a lot of people in the Muslim
world, and there are, I'm sure
extraordinary people in that world, if
they put that energy into policing their
own as much as they are criticizing
politically correct or incorrect gaffes
like I made, that maybe we'd be all
a lot better off in the world.
I mean, it remind me
of hose people living in Dachau, who you
know, were shocked at the end of the war
to find out that there was -- you know,
what that black smoke was coming from
those chimneys 100 yards from their
Right. They don't want to know the
truth. Mr. Woods, we appreciate you
coming in. That really is some
story, though, about the people, the
hijackers on the plane. Movie is
"John Q," right, opens
tomorrow. James Woods, we really
appreciate it. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
thank you so much.
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