Harpaz Testimony for State Comptroller Reopens Forged Document Case

The main question is whether there was a conspiracy to forge the document or whether it was a solo action, as the police say.

Boaz Harpaz has struck again. The reserve officer who admitted last August to forging a document that nearly decided the race for the post of chief of staff, has dropped a new bomb into the most loaded issue in the defense establishment. According to a report in Yedioth Aharonoth yesterday, Harpaz met twice last week with State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss and his staff and presented them with his detailed version of the affair.

The newspaper quotes a "legal source," who claims that Harpaz decided that henceforth he will act in line with his own interests. In other words, this suggests he will cease defending his long-time patron, former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

Was the leak from the State Comptroller's Office?

The report has clearly done enormous damage to the probe of the state comptroller. Harpaz's testimony was meant to be kept secret, at least at this stage, and it seems Lindenstrauss and his staff had planned to meet with him again.

Now, it's unclear whether such a meeting will take place because the comptroller cannot invite Harpaz for another meeting as he is not a state's witness. At the State Comptroller's Office they confirmed yesterday that Harpaz had twice attended meetings with Lindenstrauss and his staff.

"Any other detail beyond the existence of the meetings is purely speculation and baseless guessing," they said in response.

Those close to Harpaz were more blatant. Harpaz, they said, did meet with the state comptroller following his request, and answered questions in detail. However, they say there is no truth to the claim that he harmed Ashkenazi in his testimony.

"This is extremely unfounded information. There are those who are interested in spreading all sorts of imaginary scenarios, making use of underworld terminology, as if someone has ratted on someone else. This is a fictitious spin," they said.

Harpaz, of course, is the key figure in the affair that now goes by his name. According to the police, he admitted during questioning that he forged the document that was made public on Channel 2 on August 6, 2010 - the document, it was originally claimed, was part of a plan to promote Major General Yoav Galant to the post of chief of staff, besmirching his rivals.

During questioning, Harpaz said that he acted alone. Despite reservations, the investigators accepted his version.

Will the testimony Harpaz gave the state comptroller serve to clarify the question marks in the affair? Harpaz is a very sophisticated person. The several versions of events that he gave the police contained contradictions. There's no certainty that what he told Lindenstrauss last week is true. The few sources familiar with the police investigation, and less so with the probe of the state comptroller, said that to date Harpaz has in some way been covering for Ashkenazi.

The main question is whether there was a conspiracy to forge the document or whether it was a solo action, as the police said on the basis of the Harpaz testimony. The claim, mainly from supporters of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, that Ashkenazi was somehow involved in the forgery is unlikely, and the former chief of staff has denied it several times.

However, there are doubts in the minds of investigators about Ashkenazi's claims, before the General Staff and to the public, that Harpaz was not close to him, and that their ties over the years were sporadic.

It's also still unclear how the leak of the document occurred, from the assistant to the chief of staff to Channel 2. Was it mere coincidence that the leak occurred at a time when, allegedly, it served Ashkenazi best?