Alleged Forger of Galant Document Detained at Airport

Security consultant and former military intelligence officer Boaz Harpaz is arrested and questioned upon his return from the U.S.

Police yesterday detained Lt. Col. (res. ) Boaz Harpaz, suspected of forging the so-called Galant document, at Ben-Gurion International Airport on his return from the United States.

Harpaz, a former officer in the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit and Military Intelligence, has been questioned twice over the affair, and investigators twice examined his home computers and telephones for evidence.

Boaz Harpaz - Haaretz - Aug 24 2010

Harpaz left Military Intelligence six years ago, and since then has worked in security consulting. Still, he remains well-connected among high-level figures in the defense establishment, including IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.

Police believe Harpaz may not have acted alone, and that senior reserve officers were included in drafting the document and delivering it to the offices of Ashkenazi and other top officers, including GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz.

Harpaz told the daily Yedioth Ahronoth in a weekend interview that though he had seen the document, he did not write it.

Police are also examining whether Ashkenazi aide Erez Weiner served as one of the initial channels Harpaz allegedly used to distribute the document. Weiner was reportedly one of the first officials to receive a copy, though he was unaware it had been forged.

Seven years ago, Harpaz was forced to leave the military after a serious intelligence leak from a unit under his control. Harpaz was suspected of involvement in removing computers containing classified intelligence without authorization from Military Intelligence and later trying to cover up the deed. Ashkenazi was one of the senior officers backing the officer during the affair.

Harpaz then joined an international security consultancy firm, but he came into conflict with colleagues and was forced to leave the company, receiving compensation in an out-of-court settlement.

As reported Sunday in Haaretz, Harpaz met with Ashkenazi during the latter's visit to Rome, and that visit was several weeks after the army chief learned of the document purporting to outline a PR campaign to influence the race to nominate his successor and two weeks before it came to the attention of the media

Harpaz met with Ashkenazi for several minutes at the home of the Israeli ambassador, Gideon Meir, and reportedly introduced himself to the ambassador as a close friend of the chief of staff.

Harpaz also had business contacts with Arad Communications, the public-relations firm whose logo appeared on the Galant document. On Thursday, police announced that they do not suspect any of the General Staff top brass to have been involved in the document's forgery, but that they had yet to identify which officers were involved in its drafting and distribution.