Harpaz Tells Cops: I Can't Remember Who Gave Me Doc

Boaz Harpaz, who is suspected of forging the so-called Galant Document, is making life difficult for police investigators: He insists that he did not forge the document and does not remember who gave it to him.

Harpaz was arrested Monday upon his return from Europe and taken in for questioning. Yesterday, police sought to remand him for 10 days, arguing that he posed a flight risk, but the court agreed to only five days.

Police believe Harpaz is the person behind the forgery of the document, which sought to influence the appointment of the next Israel Defense Forces chief of staff. They also think he was involved in disseminating it throughout the army, including by passing one of the first copies to Col. Erez Weiner, an aide to Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, several months ago.

Investigators base these suspicions on the testimony of people with whom Harpaz discussed the document in recent months, both in the army and outside it, as well as on evidence taken from his computer and other findings.

But despite being questioned for hours by a team of investigators, he continued to say that he was not involved in the forgery and had only received the material, as many others did.

Harpaz's attorney, Yaron Kostelitz, told the court yesterday that Harpaz answered every question he was asked, but insisted that he neither forged the document nor knew that it was a forgery. The attorney added that his client's return to Israel was coordinated with the police, and therefore, he argued, there is no risk that he would flee the country.

In the end, police reached a compromise with Kostelitz under which Harpaz was remanded for five days.

Police are also investigating suspicions that Harpaz did not act alone, but had partners who assisted him in forging and disseminating the document.

During questioning investigators confronted the suspect with testimony from witnesses, including that of Weiner, as well as other evidence police allege ties Harpaz to the forgery and distribution of the document.

IDF sources say that other officers, both active and retired, most likely were involved in drafting the proposals contained in the document. But it is unclear whether police will expose their identities, because it does not seem that they were involved in the only criminal offense - the forgery that attributed the document to a public relations firm.

Moreover, if the identities of the officers allegedly involved were revealed, it could make efforts to reconcile the rift in the top echelons of the IDF even more difficult.

Haaretz reported earlier this week that a month ago, Harpaz met with Ashkenazi during the latter's visit to Rome, about two weeks before Channel 2 television reported the document's existence. But at the time of this meeting, Ashkenazi had already known about the document for several weeks.

Last week, police announced that no members of the General Staff were suspected of involvement in the forgery. Shortly thereafter, Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced he had chosen Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant as the next chief of staff.