The Circuit City clerk whose call to the authorities foiled an alleged plot to attack NJ's Fort Dix stepped forward yesterday. Brian Morgenstern, 23, now a manager at different Circuit City, gave his first interview yesterday and spoke on CNN's American Morning about his actions:
ROBERTS: Did these guys strike you as being strange in any kind of way? Did they -- did your radar go off at all?
MORGENSTERN: No, not at all. They just looked like normal people.
ROBERTS: When did your radar go off?
MORGENSTERN: Well, as far as the process goes, I start the conversion, and then I'll just usually work on something else and keep an eye on it to make sure. But I saw some stuff on the film that was disturbing, and it kind of gained my attention that way. So I started paying more attention to it...
...ROBERTS: I think it has been revealed that they were shouting calls of jihad, holy war on the tape. After you saw the tape, what did you do?
MORGENSTERN: It was more of a moral dilemma at that point. I thought about whether or not it should be reported. I actually waited that night and weighed out my decisions. I went home. I talked to my family about it, thought their input would be very helpful on the situation. They agreed with me. The next day I went into work and told the management at the time that I was going to make the call and they supported me. Circuit City has been very supportive on this whole situation and I called the police.
Morgenstern added he didn't feel like a hero, "I feel like I did the right thing, but I think the real heroes are men and women overseas and the people in our law enforcement who handled the situation." Interestingly, one of the lawyers for the suspected terror plotters told the Star-Ledger he thought Morgenstern was right to go to the authorities with his suspicions, but "[t]hese guys have not been tried, these guys have not been convicted, so it's premature to say he's a hero."
Photograph of Brian Morgenstern, who called the authorities almost a year and a half ago about a strange tape he was asked to convert at a NJ Circuit City, by Frank Franklin II/AP