AG doesn't want to probe leaks to watchdog in Harpaz affair
Weinstein has a 'minimalist policy on anything related to the investigation of leaks in light of the fundamental importance of journalistic freedom,' letter says.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein considers it more important for journalists to use leaked documents to publish vital information than for the police to investigate who leaked those documents, it emerges from a letter that came to light during a High Court of Justice hearing in the Harpaz affair Sunday.
In the letter, Weinstein told State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss he was opposed to granting the comptroller's request for an investigation into who leaked Lindenstrauss' findings in the Harpaz affair. The scandal centers on a possible attempt to influence the appointment of a successor to IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi through a document allegedly forged by Lt. Col. Boaz Harpaz.
Weinstein has a "minimalist policy on anything related to the investigation of leaks, in light of the fundamental importance of journalistic freedom, freedom of expression and the public's right to know," he wrote in the April 15 letter to Lindenstrauss.
The letter came up at a hearing on a petition filed by Ashkenazi's former aide Erez Weiner, who wants the court to overturn Lindenstrauss' ban on releasing material connected to the Harpaz affair that had reached Weiner.
High Court Justices Edna Arbel, Elyakim Rubinstein and Noam Sohlberg left in place the gag order they imposed on the case Thursday, and it is in effect for the next 10 days.
During that time, Weinstein and Lindenstrauss will submit their positions to the court, as will Weiner and the media outlets that have joined him as petitioners: Haaretz, Yedioth Ahronoth and its website Ynet, all represented by Tamir Gluck and Yaron Shalmy.
Gluck argued that the law governing gag orders does not apply to information collected by the comptroller's office.