A Factor Exclusive Makes News

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly reporting from Washington.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

We'd like to welcome our new viewers in Rhode Island and Connecticut on the Cox Cable System.  We hope you enjoy The Factor.

Well, another Factor exclusive is making national headlines.  That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

Two months ago, The Factor introduced you to Professor Sami Al-Arian, who teaches at the University of South Florida near Tampa.  Professor al-Arian came on this program, and I closely questioned him about his ties to known terrorists.  In the mid-'90s, al-Arian brought Ramadan Adbullah Shallah to America to talk about the Palestinian situation.  Problem is, Mr. Shallah then went back to the Middle East to head up the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization.

Professor Al-Arian said this about that.


PROF. SAMI AL-ARIAN, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA:  He came as a volunteer.  He was working in an intellectual think tank.  And he taught at the university, and then he left.  He said that his father was sick and he was going back to the occupied territories.


O'REILLY:  All right.  Now, he said he was shocked that he would become the head of this terrorist organization.  But University of South Florida immediately suspended him with pay.

The problem now with Al-Arian's explanation is that he has been very militant, at one time saying, "Death to Israel."  Also, he may have been involved with fund raising for terrorist Muslim organizations.  We don't know that for sure, but the accusations have been made.

Now, the University of South Florida continues to run and hide.  Their president, board of directors dodging the media.  State of Florida also has not been forthcoming about Professor al-Arian.  But because of The Factor, the citizens of Florida rightly ask, What the heck's going on?

Thus the university trustees have now voted to dismiss al-Arian.  He can appeal that dismissal.

Talking Points doesn't think that's fair.  We would not have fired Al-Arian without a complete investigation into acts-- his activities.  Even though it looks like this guy is sympathetic to terrorism, it hasn't been proved.

So this could be a case of a cowardly administration at the University of South Florida just taking the easy way out and dumping Al-Arian.  What should happen here is that the authorities in Florida should investigate the guy.  Sami al-Arian may be a person who should not be teaching in any American classroom, but at this point Americans have a right to know exactly what he did or did not do.

The Factor has serious questions about him and his pals, but we don't take any joy in seeing the man fired.  Once again, we are calling for a complete and professional investigation into Sami Al-Arian's conduct.

More on this in a moment.  And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." 

As you may know, the entertainment press has been kind of brutal on your humble correspondent.  That's me, of course.  But in the year-end edition of Entertainment Weekly, I am one of their top personalities of the year.  How did that happen?  Right up there with Nicole Kidman.  Whoa!

Now I'm not sure about this picture they used.  Is that me in that uniform?  And if it is, do I get to on free camping trips?  Might be ridiculous.

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET.  And send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com