Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Actor James Woods observed and reported four hijackers making a trial run on an airline flight before the
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2001]
Origins: A great deal of "What if?" soul-searching and hand-wringing follows in the wake of any disaster. Should we have foreseen it coming? Would lives and property have been saved if we had taken preventive measures? Did we miss signs we should have noticed, or ignore signs we should have heeded?
In the case of the
ABC News reported last night that two of the hijackers, whom it did not name, flew from Las Vegas to New York on Aug. 1 aboard US Airways, and that one successfully asked for a tour of the cockpit, claiming to be a student pilot. In other flights designed to test airline security, some of the hijackers were seen videotaping in-flight procedures, the network said.A tale which quickly spread after the hijackings was that actor James Woods had noticed four men "of Middle Eastern appearance" acting strangely on a flight he made from Boston to Los Angeles a week before the hijackings, but when he reported his suspicions, they were not taken seriously:
In addition to test runs, some of the hijackers also spent time at Logan in the days before the attack, possibly surveilling security systems at the airport. A rental car used by some of the hijackers was parked at Logan's garage facilities once on
Some of the hijackers had frequent flier accounts with a high number of miles on them. That alone, the senior aviation official said, would have made airline employees more at ease with individuals who seemed to be nothing more than good customers.
Woods took a flight from Boston to Los Angeles one week before the World Trade Center attacks. The only other people in first class with him were four men "of Middle Eastern appearance" who acted very strangely. During the entire cross-country flight none of them had anything to eat or drink, nor did they read or sleep. They only sat upright in their seats, occasionally conversing with each other in low tones. Woods mentioned what he had noticed to a flight attendant, "who shrugged it off." Arriving in Los Angeles, Woods told airport authorities, but they "seemed unwilling to become involved."That Woods noticed unusual behavior and reported it to authorities was true, although some of the details in the initial news reports were wrong. Woods' Boston-to-
One of the practice flights may have occurred in August. Actor James Woods was so shaken by a flight he took from Boston to Los Angeles about a month before the attacks that he told an attendant and authorities of his suspicions when he landed. Woods was in first-class and the only other passengers in the section were four men who appeared to be Middle Eastern in origin.Last updated: 21 April 2008
During the entire six-hour flight, Woods noticed the men neither ate nor drank. They talked to each other in whispers and did not read or sleep. On
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