Attorney General defends Indian artifact case
Attorney General Eric Holder defended the Obama administration's handling of a major Indian artifact theft case at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Holder said federal agents took all the necessary precautions when dealing with people charged with crimes. More than 100 law enforcement personnel took part in a series of raids and arrests, almost all of them in the same town in Utah.

""We want to use the appropriate amount of force that is necessary. We also want to keep in mind the protection responsibility. I have to make sure that the lives of law enforcement officers engaged," Holder said before being interrupted by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is demanding an investigation into the issue.

"I felt like it was a dog and pony show, and I know one when I see it," said Hatch, noting the press conference held by interior Secretary Ken Salazar on June 10.

Get the Story:
Utah senator confronts attorney general on tactics used in artifact raids (The Los Angeles Times 6/18)
Feds: Armed suspects were a concern during American Indian artifact busts in Utah (The Salt Lake Tribune 6/18)
Attorney general defends relics raid (The Salt Lake City Deseret News 6/18)
Attorneys appointed for defendants in artifacts theft case (The Salt Lake Tribune 6/18)
Federal agents face criticism over arrests in Indian artifacts case; Holder defends arrests (AP 6/17)

Committee Hearing:
Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice (June 17, 2009)

Relevant Documents:
DOI Press Release: Federal Agents Bust Ring of Antiquity Thieves Looting American Indian Sites for Priceless Treasures | DOJ Press Release: Arrests Made in Operation Targeting Network Selling Stolen Native American Artifacts | Remarks of Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden at a Press Conference

Related Stories:
Editorial: Pandering in Utah artifact theft case (6/18)
Utah town upset over Indian artifact theft case (6/17)
Column: 'Overkill' in Indian artifact theft case (6/17)
Agents searched New Mexico art dealer's home (6/17)
Utah town upset over Indian artifact theft case (6/17)
Utah GOP upset with Indian artifact theft case (6/15)
Tribes support prosecution of artifact theft case (6/12)
Defendant in DOI artifact theft case found dead (6/12)
Two dozen indicted for theft of Indian artifacts (6/11)
Salazar, EchoHawk in Utah for press conference (6/10)