Message #81
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 

Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998
Subject: U.S. Apologizes To Archaeologists

[ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] :

[ A story of people with no sense of humor -- SASIG Ed. ]

U.S. Apologizes To Archaeologists
Las Vegas SUN February 26, 1998 

An archaeologist who was spied on and raided in a federal
investigation run amok has received an extraordinary
apology from the government. "We apologize for any
negative consequences suffered as a result of this
misconduct," said the Justice Department in a letter to
Allen Pastron in Oakland, Calif. The case began as an
investigation into whether Pastron and some of his
colleagues had been stealing arrowheads, pottery and other
artifacts off federal lands. Now it has shifted into an
investigation into whether federal law enforment officers
overstepped their bounds. In addition to apologizing, the
Justice Department is weighing criminal charges against
officers from the Bureau of Land Management, an agency
within the Interior Department that oversees minerals,
wild horses and artifacts on 270 million acres of public
land. The BLM's case against the archaeologists was sparked
during a 1993 raid at the home of Patrick Hallinan, one of
San Francisco's most brash and well-known defense attorneys.
He had been charged - and was later acquitted -- of helping
a client smuggle marijuana and hide the profits. While
searching Hallinan's Kentfield, Calif., home for evidence of
drugs and racketeering, agents found a letter they thought
sounded suspicious. Steve Allely, an artist from Sisters,
Ore., who replicates artifacts, wrote to Hallinan,
reminiscing about a camping trip they had taken in Nevada's
Black Rock Desert. On the way home, wrote Allely, he found
some arrowheads. He sent along a picture of his "points,"
carved pieces of rock. "I suppose this the xerox would be
evidence if the wrong BLM 'archaeo-cop' saw it so you'll
have to douse it with some of that good salad dressing you
had out at our desert camp and eat it," he wrote. Based on
that letter, a separate case was opened and soon Allely,
along with two of Hallinan's friends -- Pastron and fellow
archaeologist Carl "Billy" Clewlow -- were being staked out
as well. According to the archaeologists: Armed and
uniformed federal agents executed four search warrants on
one day, leaving with boxes of field notes, artifacts, maps
and personal belongings. They frisked Allely and kept him
in his house for six hours, even escorting him to the
bathroom. They laughed at Pastron as they rifled through
his intimate letters and photographs. They took Clewlow's
passport. And they took an arrowhead collection from
Hallinan's 14-year-old son. More than a year later, almost
all of the items were returned. No one was ever charged. In
December, Pastron was sent the rare letter of apology. "We
found that the prosecutor who approved the search committed
misconduct by doing so. The Department has taken corrective
action based on the results of our investigation," wrote
Michael Shaheen, then counsel for the Justice Department's
Office of Professional Responsibility. No one from the
Justice Department would comment on the case. The Interior
Department launched its own investigation, trying to find
out whether BLM law enforcement officers and managers
abused their power. No one there would comment either.
BLM agent William Elliott, the lead investigator in the
archaeology case, said he is certain he's the subject of
the internal investigation. "I did nothing wrong. Nothing,"
he said. Hallinan said his friends were investigated and
raided as part of a broader attempt to harass him. "They
can stick their apology in their ear," he said.