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Cleveland terror plot thwarted: What federal officials are saying

Federal officials are reacting to the news that law enforcement thwarted a plan to carry out a bombing in Cleveland during the Fourth of July holiday.

Demetrius N. Pitts, 48, faces one count of attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, according to court documents.

MORE: Cleveland terror plot suspect has Dayton and Cincinnati ties, report shows

MORE: 3 other times southwest Ohio men were linked to terror plots

Pitts was arrested Sunday morning by a Joint Terrorism Task Force, according to Steve Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Cleveland office.

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Here’s a look at reaction from federal officials:

Justin Herdman, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio

“He talked about taking targets like St. John’s Cathedral off the map … (Pitts) wanted to strike at the values that are at the very core of our nation. He wanted us to be afraid to speak our minds. He also wanted us to be scared to gather in public places.”

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

“Terrorists reject the ideals this nation was founded upon—the ideals we celebrate on July Fourth and which our law enforcement officers lay down their lives for every day. Each one of us owes a debt of gratitude to the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who work day and night to identify those who would do this nation harm, including those committed to supporting violence in the name of foreign terrorist organizations.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray

“Together with our law enforcement partners on FBI Cleveland’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the FBI disrupted plans to attack innocent citizens – including on July 4th, a day our citizens should be able to celebrate our freedom without fear of violence. This arrest shows the determination of the men and women of the FBI and our partner agencies to protect our communities from harm. I extend my thanks not just to those who worked on this case, but to all those who safeguard our nation every day.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, during a recent visit in Dayton. JIM OTTE/STAFF (Staff Writer)

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio

“Clevelanders are grateful to the FBI and all law enforcement officers for their work protecting our city and our neighbors from this attack. And we thank all law enforcement who work every day to keep our country safe and secure from the ongoing threat of homegrown terrorism.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, is running for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH/FILE (Washington Bureau)

Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth

"Every day the FBI and our local law enforcement are working behind the scenes to keep us safe, which is why it is vital we provide them with the tools and resources to continue protecting us. It is unfortunate that during big holidays while we celebrate with our loved ones, extremists prey on our communities. Please keep your eyes open this week, and thank you Cleveland officers for your service and protection."

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio

“This plot underscores the threat we continue to face from home-grown terrorism. I applaud the FBI and its law enforcement partners for their hard work to stop this threat and ensure that everyone can have a safe and secure Fourth.”

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