We have finally reached the last chapter of the "big mess" known as the affair surrounding the Harpaz-Ashkenazi document. After State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss sent a copy of his report to those involved in the affair, three responses followed. Defense Minister Ehud Barak worded his remarks in the form of a serious indictment against former Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and his assistant, Col. Erez Viner, who leaked the letter. Barak's bureau chief Yoni Koren submitted a sworn statement that a senior officer in Ashkenazi's circle threatened one of Homefront Defense Minister Matan Vilnai's aides for criticizing the former chief of staff. Ashkenazi, for his part, has still avoided responding — and in my estimation Lindenstrauss and the head of the security branch in the State Comptroller's Office, retired Maj. Gen. Yaakov (Mendi) Or should view his silence as an admission that he has nothing to say. Viner asked the High Court of Justice for more material and only Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein knows why he and his colleagues aren't leaning toward defending Lindenstrauss. The truth is the biggest loser in this story.
But there was one other person who responded. Channel 1 reporter Ayala Hasson (who else?) revealed on Monday what Boaz Harpaz had to say on the matter. Harpaz sent Lindenstrauss his response on May 1. His remarks were crystal clear: He said that he did what he did in full cooperation and coordination with Ashkenazi and his bureau. He was instructed to dig up dirt on Barak, former GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yoav Galant (who had his appointment as Ashkenazi's successor revoked) and Yoni Koren.
I apologize for being repetitive, but when the majority of the country danced around the golden calf of the "Galant document" — we wrote in these pages, the very day after it was reported, that the document was nothing short of a forgery on the level of the "Zinoviev Letter" [which in 1924 allowed the British Conservative party to cheat its way to victory].
The police failed in its investigation and its leadership was so lenient with Ashkenazi that toward the end of the investigation it even went as far as to work out of the ex-chief of staff's home. The police also hampered Weinstein, who determined without being asked to, that both bureaus — Barak's and Ashkenazi's — were not involved in the scandal. That is one report the attorney-general would happily revoke if he could.
Then a suspicious conversation was revealed between Ashkenazi and Harpaz that raised the doubt they were involved in obstructing the investigation. State Prosecutor Moshe Lador and Deputy Attorney-General for Criminal Affairs Raz Nizri, both esteemed attorneys, admitted that the phone conversation was embarrassing, but they were unable to explain why it didn't warrant a police investigation.
Now, Harpaz has backed-up Barak's version of events. If Viner's lawyer recommends turning him into a state's witness, that would be a worthwhile move. Instead of casting aside Lindenstrauss' recommendations with more despicable ruses, those in the state prosecution and police must listen — without becoming overly emotional — to the two following arguments.
The first is, you can disapprove of Barak and criticize him from the Akirov Towers to the Kirya Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv and back, but this matter has a black side and a white one, and he is the white. This does not bar an investigation into what Ashkenazi claims are lost recordings from the defense minister's bureau. On the contrary, this should be probed.
The second thing is that upstanding, mature individuals should not fear saying: We've changed our minds. More facts have come to light and we will not stick to this absurdity. The Talmud teaches us that, "Where the penitent stands, even the perfectly righteous cannot stand." Weinstein can change his mind, if he wants to.