The Lieutenant Colonel's Role / Silly, but Not Criminal

According to a senior law-enforcement official well versed in the Boaz Harpaz affair the former chief of staff "did not excel when it came to his discretion in the affair."

"The police investigation did not uncover any criminal aspect to the actions of Gabi Ashkenazi," a senior law-enforcement official well versed in the Boaz Harpaz affair said Sunday.

According to the official, the former chief of staff "did not excel when it came to his discretion in the affair. His behavior at certain stages deserves to be called 'stupid' - or if that is too blunt, then 'silly.' But the allusions that have been aired and published in recent days, as if to say his behavior was criminal and that the police investigators covered for him and whitewashed the inquiry, have caused injustice to both Ashkenazi and the police."

Police from the investigations and intelligence branch are now in their second year of studies at the university of life in the military-media club. In their first year, last summer, they learned how the link between the defense brass and the electronic and print media created the Harpaz affair. This year, they are learning how each side in the battle knows how to interpret the facts that have been revealed, either in full or in part.

The investigation did not refute Ashkenazi's version that he knew only that Lt. Col. (res. ) Harpaz was his source, the person who had presented him with the "Galant document" but not the forger of the document himself, when he reported the matter to the head of the investigations and intelligence branch, Maj. Gen. Yoav Segalovitz.

The police also accepted the explanation of Ashkenazi's assistant, Col. Erez Wiener, who informed Harpaz that Segalovitz was on his way to question him, innocently believing that Harpaz would help the police to trace the origins of the document.

The decisive fact, according to the police (as well as the state prosecution, which adopted the investigators' conclusions ), is that no one aside from Harpaz was involved in criminal activity in the affair, and that the Ashkenazis played no part in forging the document or knowingly passing on a forged document.

All the rest was intrigue and "inappropriate behavior" on the part of the two involved offices - that of Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak - but not criminal activity.

Surrounding the affair, a murky atmosphere remains, responsibility for which is shared between the two camps. In the affair on the whole, Ashkenazi is not the biggest villain; publicly Barak managed the chief-of-staff appointment process - from putting up fake candidates against Galant to the failed appointment of Galant.

This situation will change only if Harpaz changes his story, ceases to insist that he acted alone, and provides evidence that he had accomplices to this or the other crime - from forgery to acquiring genuine material (printed on forged letterheads ) by criminal means.

As long as Harpaz sticks to his guns, the police do not have a lead that would justify reopening the case.