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.