United States Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach's remarks on the arrest of five people charged with conspiring to use explosives to destroy a bridge near Cleveland
The remarks of Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, as delivered upon the arrest of five individuals charged with conspiring to use explosives to destroy a bridge near Cleveland:
"Thank you, Steve, and I also want to thank all the men and women of the FBI, the JTTF and Duncan Brown from the U.S. Attorney’s Office National Security Unit for their hard work and dedication in this matter.
"Yesterday’s arrests demonstrate, again, that protecting our community against acts of terrorism and violence remains the single highest priority of this Department and this United States Attorney’s Office. This case also demonstrates that the threat we face is a diverse one. That terrorism can come in many hues and from many homelands, and that we investigate and prosecute cases based upon the evidence and the actions of individuals, not the rhetoric and illusion of preconceived notions.
"I want to begin by stressing the point that, despite the defendants’ intentions and aims, that during the entire course of yesterday’s operation, the public was never in any danger. The defendants’ never possessed at any time any real explosive material, and their arrest warrants were signed before they got into the car to head to the bridge.
"The complaint in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plan – and it was their plan. The defendants chose the target they wished to destroy. The defendants went to the bridge to do reconaissance. The defendants went to a hotel room to purchase what they thought was C-4 explosives. The defendants went to the bridge last night. The defendants planted the explosives at the base of a busy bridge. The defendants went to an off site location to arm the explosives and the defendants then entered a code they thought would blow that bridge up. The defendants in this case stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions.
"Make no mistake. Those who seek to express their views and opinions through protest and demonstration will find the highest level of protection and respect in our laws and in our community. They deserve and we deserve no less. Those, however, whose views find expression through acts of destruction and violence will find that the same rule of law will be used to protect the safety of the community. It deserves no less.
"The defendants are in custody and will appear before a federal magistrate judge later today in the courthouse. That is where the legal process will begin."