Israel Police Raid Publishing House in Search for Classified Memoir Written by Jailed ex-PM Olmert

Police suspect that Ehud Olmert's lawyer failed to hand over drafts of his client's autobiography, which must be cleared by the Defense Ministry before publication

Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem Magistrate's Court in February 2016
Noam Moskowitz /' Walla News pool photo

State Prosecutor Shay Nitzan requested Thursday that Israel Police investigate whether former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert committed a crime in prison by disclosing classified information.

The request was made following a police raid on Israeli publishing house Yedioth Ahronoth Thursday morning in a search for jailed ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's autobiography, which was allegedly smuggled out of his prison before the military censor could review it.

The state also filed a request to postpone discussions of Olmert's case by the parole board, due to be held on Sunday. This request has since been turned down.

Olmert's manuscript, which also covers his term as prime minister from 2006 to 2009, is considered classified information and must be cleared by the Defense Ministry before publication. Police had questioned Olmert's lawyer in May on suspicion that he failed to hand over drafts of his client's autobiography for censorship.

The drafts are meant to be given by Olmert to his attorney in sealed envelopes, which are then handed over to the Defense Ministry. But his lawyer is suspected of having taken several envelopes straight to Olmert's publisher, without the ministry's approval.

The prosecutor’s office stated: “Parts of the book deal with sensitive security issues. There was a recent incident in which one of Olmert’s attorneys was caught upon leaving the prison after a visit with a chapter of the book, which deals with a security incident about which the censor had forbidden publication. The chapter includes, among other things, secret operational details that were not approved in past for publication.”

The materials seized from the lawyer had not been turned over as required, and an investigation into the matter was consequently opened.

Olmert, who is halfway through serving a 27-month prison sentence for corruption, had requested a pardon from President Reuven Rivlin earlier this year. The president rejected the request.