The chief of staff, senior generals and staff of the defense minister and chief of staff are not suspects in the affair that promoted one of the candidates to become the military's next chief of staff. This came to light yesterday after the police released their interim conclusions of their investigation into the so-called Galant document.

The police suspect that a former mid-ranking army officer is behind the forged document. But at this stage they are unable to clearly link him to the person who leaked the document to Channel 2.

Investigators believe that the suspect planned his actions very carefully, including the way the document would be disseminated within the army and beyond.

Preparing different versions of the document, which was printed in various graphics, the forger was careful to fake the logo of a consulting firm headed by political strategist Eyal Arad.

Over the past few months, different versions of the document have been disseminated among officers and civilians.

Last night it was learned that the police had made contact with the forger during the investigation; his name came up during the testimonies by military officials. However, it is still unclear whether the suspect was questioned under caution by police.

Police refused to comment yesterday on whether the suspect was in Israel or abroad.

It was also learned that the source who leaked the document to Channel 2 commentator Amnon Abramovich was one of the dozens of officers and civilians questioned by police investigators.

The source is a businessman linked to a group of people with a defense-related background, and apparently is also associated with military officers, some still active and others retired.

It is still unclear whether there is a direct link between the forger and the source of the leak to Channel 2.

Arad, who had filed a complaint with the police because of the forgery, said "we are satisfied" when asked yesterday about the police's interim conclusions.

"The document was indeed forged, as we argued during our initial response to the report on Channel 2," Arad said. "There was no reason to link our firm in any way.

"It's unfortunate that an anonymous and treacherous forger dragged the entire country into this .... Now it's appropriate for the person who forged the document to have the courage and admit his act and put an end to the rumors in the army and the entire country."

Meanwhile, with suspicions lifted from senior figures in the Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry, Defense Minister Ehud Barak plans to resume the process next week that will lead to the appointment of the IDF's 20th chief of staff.

Yesterday Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced that there is no legal obstacle to resuming the process after the police concluded that the document was a forgery and no senior officers or defense officials were involved.