State Set to End Probe Into Former PM Olmert for Disclosing Classified Information in Upcoming Biography

The state had argued that Olmert's lawyer had been caught leaving a prison visit to the former PM with manuscripts describing a still-classified security mission

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (L), 71, looks on as he leaves the Maasyahu prison, on July 2, 2017 in Ramla.
Jack Guez / AFP

The state is expected to end an investigation into whether former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, leaked classified information in the autobiography he is writing, parts of which were allegedly smuggled out of the prison where he served a sentence for corruption, before the military censor could review it.

In June, shortly before the parole board was due to discuss early release, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan announced a criminal investigation of Olmert. In May Olmert’s lawyer, Hanina Brandes, was questioned after he was caught leaving the prison with his client’s manuscripts.

The state had argued that Brandes was found with a chapter of Olmert’s book describing a still-classified security mission and that Olmert had been warned not to give the material to unauthorized parties outside prison.

Nitzan’s decision to open a criminal probe caused an uproar. The head of the parole board refused Nitzan’s request to delay Olmert’s parole hearing. The panel also disagreed with prosecutors on the gravity of Olmert’s alleged deeds. In response, Israel Prison Service commissioner Ofra Klinger claimed in a letter to Nitzan that the parole board fell sway to Olmert’s PR.

Police raided the Yedioth Ahronoth publishing house and confiscated material, including items unrelated to Olmert’s book. Yedioth and the police are still fighting over whether the material should be returned.

Nitzan bucked his own officials and did not appeal the parole board’s decision to parole Olmert. Sources say an end to the investigation is expected within days.