Behind the comptroller awaits an investigator
The war between Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander and State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss eclipsed last week's announcement of the appointment of Commander Shlomi Ayalon as national fraud squad head. These two apparently unrelated matters may converge and affect the future of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Hollander's pre-planned assault on Lindenstrauss had been brought to Olmert's attention. The anonymous figures known as "Olmert's associates" found it difficult to hide their glee at the sight of an embarrassed comptroller. There is serious tension as the parties await the completion of the comptroller's probe on matters related to Olmert. If any cause to suspect a crime emerges, the findings will be passed to the office of Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, who will decide whether to order the police to begin an investigation against Olmert. The decision, whether it involves the Supreme Court or not, will be made by the Judiciary, but on the public front it is important to Olmert's associates to make Lindenstrauss look foolish.
If Lindenstrauss does not panic and Mazuz orders the police to investigate, the handling of the case will be brought to Investigations Chief Yohanan Danino. Major General Danino will assign one of the investigative units, or a special team, to scrutinize Olmert. The natural choice for an investigation is the national fraud squad. This will be a newer version of the investigations into Ariel Sharon, and comes once more as the prime minister's main political focus is on the evacuation of settlements.
In the case of the Sharon affair, a significant rule was established for law enforcement: Those fighting corruption will be punished, and those fighting the fighters of corruption will be rewarded. The evil investigators, branch head Major General Moshe Mizrahi and Fraud Squad head Brigadier General Miri Golan were shown the door by then-public security minister Gideon Ezra. On the other hand Ayalon, who will soon be placed at the head of the fraud squad, took part in the investigation of those embittered by the delays in the Sharon probe. Ayalon accompanied investigations unit head Eran Shendar to a meeting with the press contact "N.," code-named "Eagle," who provided evidence that helped them incriminate attorney Liora Glatt-Berkowitz, who was at the center of the State Prosecutor's Office leak in the Cyril Kern affair. Glatt-Berkowitz was tried and dismissed, Shendar was brought back from retirement and appointed state prosecutor, and Danino, who scoffed at the evidence against Sharon and assisted Mazuz to close the case, was promoted to major general and put in charge of the police investigations and intelligence branch.
Gideon Ezra, formerly deputy head of the Shin Bet security service, cares about certain things only, such as productivity on the part of the intelligence desk officers. He was a difficult minister for the police, and when attacked he was quick to respond - by joining the assailants. Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi made his calculations, gave up on challenging Ezra and thus managed to survive him. Now he must survive the committee headed by retired judge Vardi Zeiler. The committee is preparing a report that is threatening the police's upper ranks. In order to make it quietly to the end of his term, in the summer of 2007, Karadi may need the support of politicians, including ministers in Olmert's government. He will have no one else to lean on. Anyone who does not fight enthusiastically on behalf of his own officers can expect, at most, an indifferent reaction from the public and the cops.
Karadi chose Ayalon for the fraud squad over two other commanders. His criteria, it is said among the police force, were entirely professional and received the compliments of the commanding ranks. Golan will remain at the head of the fraud squad until October, and Karadi - who failed to keep the promise of his predecessor Shlomo Aharonisky to promote her - will try to get Golan a promotion for the sake of her pension.
Karadi and Danino will influence the choice of who leads an investigation against the prime minister, assuming there is such an investigation, as will Public Security Minister Avi Dichter. He also emerged from the Shin Bet, but his style differs from Ezra's. Dichter has made it clear to the police that he will not be a super-commissioner. He is behaving as a future prime minister, not a former head of the Shin Bet. This is not necessarily a good omen for Olmert.