Retired military officer Boaz Harpaz told the state comptroller that he wrote the document smearing a then candidate for the position of Israel Defense Forces chief at the behest of then Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, according to a Channel 1 exclusive report on Monday.
"Ashkenazi enabled me, he had me gather slanderous material on Defense Minister Ehud Barak, on then GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, and on Barak's chief of staff Yoni Koren," Harpaz said, according to drafts from the state comptroller's report. The Channel 1 report said the "spread of the material was not done by Harpaz but rather by Ashkenazi's department."
In response, a spokesman for Ashkenazi told Israel Hayom: "We have not heard of this version of the events. We assume that the intelligent reader will be able to differentiate between reality and slander." Harpaz's spokesman refused to comment, saying, "Harpaz gave his statement in the state comptroller's report, and nothing new was said there."
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss was set to submit a draft of his conclusions on the Harpaz affair on Sunday afternoon to those involved in the scandal.
The affair revolves around a forged document, allegedly composed by Harpaz, and made to look like it was written by an ad man and commissioned by Galant, a candidate for chief of general staff at the time. The document, which contained guidelines on bolstering Galant’s chances at the top military spot while slinging mud at the other leading candidates, was leaked to the press in 2010. Many top military officials became implicated in the affair, which turned out to be an attempt to sabotage Galant’s chances.
Over the course of the investigation, more than 300 witnesses, a majority of them senior military officers and defense establishment officials, spoke with the state comptroller's senior aides.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein told Lindenstrauss on Sunday that the state comptroller's office was free to finish the investigation now and report its findings to the public. According to Weinstein, completing and publishing the report is not intended to delay the current Justice Ministry inquiry into whether the Harpaz affair warrants a criminal investigation. The inquiry "will be performed with thoroughness and due diligence," a spokesman for Lindenstrauss said. "If no more obstacles are put in the way of the investigation, the state comptroller's office will make every effort to complete the Harpaz affair report."