Maariv Columnist Ben Caspit Gave Statements to Police Over Ties to Alleged Forger of Galant Document

Ben Caspit, a news columnist for the daily Maariv, gave statements to the police yesterday on the extent of his relationship with Lt. Col. (res. ) Boaz Harpaz, the former commando officer alleged to have forged the so-called Galant document.

In his two-hour session with the police's international investigations unit, Caspit said he had met with Harpaz months ago to discuss the tensions between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Gabi Ashkenazi.

Caspit told investigators he had gleaned tidbits of information from Harpaz during their meeting and that they later kept in touch via text-messages. The columnist also said he did not know of the existence of the Galant document until its contents were revealed by Channel 2. The Galant document purported to outline a PR campaign for Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant in his efforts to become the next chief of staff.

Harpaz, who was detained last Monday at Ben-Gurion International Airport after he returned from the United States, is suspected of forgery, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit a crime. The police suspect that Harpaz forged the Galant document and gave it to an official in Ashkenazi's office.

Caspit has written extensively about the acrimonious relations between Ashkenazi and Barak. When contacted by Haaretz yesterday, Caspit declined to comment.

Meanwhile, it was also learned yesterday that former Military Intelligence chief Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash gave statements to the police in recent days regarding the document.

Six years ago Harpaz was forced to quit the army after he was revealed to be responsible for what was described as a serious breach of information security.

Harpaz, who was then an officer with the IDF's Operations Branch, was suspected of removing computers that contained classified information, without receiving permission from Military Intelligence. He was later found to have attempted to cover up his involvement in the incident.

An investigation into the matter confirmed the suspicions against Harpaz, who was subsequently stripped of his security clearance.

In his interview with the police, the former MI chief recounted details of his association with Harpaz and the incident that eventually stripped him of his clearance. Harpaz's remand has been extended until Wednesday.