Military Intelligence Reopening Harpaz Case

MI director examining suspicion officer harmed Israel's national security.

The intelligence branch of the army's General Staff has begun reexamining the conduct of Lt. Col. (res. ) Boaz Harpaz, the former officer at the center of the so-called Galant document affair.

The probe, conducted concurrently with that of the State Comptroller's Office, is focusing on the special access Harpaz seems to have received to sensitive intelligence networks - even years after leaving career army service - and suspicions that he had had improper ties with officers in special Military Intelligence operations units.

Harpaz has admitted forging a document purporting to show a concerted campaign to get Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant appointed Israel Defense Forces chief of staff.

In his career army service, Harpaz served in the intelligence branch of the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit, and later as an operations officer in a sensitive Military Intelligence department.

Now suspicions are emerging that Harpaz was actively involved in the goings-on at Sayeret Matkal and the special MI operations unit after his release from the career army, potentially causing considerable security-related damage.

With the permission of IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi, MI head Amos Yadlin recently ordered an wide-ranging investigation, involving a number of long-serving reserves officers, into Harpaz's conduct.

The IDF Spokesman told Haaretz yesterday that "Military Intelligence is comprehensively examining every possibility of information leaked by unauthorized individuals."

The latest revelations come at the end of a week that saw a war of words between Ashkenazi's bureau and that of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, as both sides seemed unwilling to wait for the release of the State Comptroller's Office report.

In recent days, news outlets including Haaretz have published items on the 2006 report issued by the late Avner Barzani, then IDF ombudsman, into claims by Harpaz that he had been released early from the career army and denied the full pension to which he believed he was entitled.

The stories painted a disconcerting picture of the special treatment granted to Harpaz by MI, the chief of staff and the army upper echelon itself. State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, whose office is privy to these reports and has already received the bulk of the police interrogation transcripts related to the Galant document affair, will take several more months to release its findings.