Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is seen in Jerusalem District Court.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit on Tuesday announced that he is closing the preliminary probe into former Ehud Olmert’s alleged leaking of classified documents without the need for a full criminal investigation.
In June 2017, police raided the book publishing offices of Yediot Aharonot in Rishon Lezion after Mandelblit authorized a preliminary review of the alleged illegal leak by Olmert.
At the time, Olmert, who was serving a 27-month sentence in Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle for corruption offenses, had started writing a memoir and had asked his lawyer to bring materials, some of them allegedly classified, to his jail cell to provide background for his book. Olmert’s attorney was detained in May 2017 after he was caught with the materials in his possession following a visit with the former head of government.
A prior statement from Mandelblit’s office said one of Olmert’s lawyers was caught smuggling out portions of the new book, which contain classified information.
In a statement close to the time of the opening of the probe, Olmert’s attorneys said that their client “does not require any seal of approval as to his connection and responsibility for subjects that are related to Israel’s national security. He has never leaked anything sensitive on subjects of security or intelligence that could have damaged the State of Israel.”
The statement added that Olmert has submitted his autobiography
to the Censor’s Office. “During his time in prison, Mr. Olmert wrote an autobiographical book that deals with his life affairs and his activities in social, financial and crucial security subjects.
“This book was passed on in its entirety to the Censor’s Office over two months ago and no one, especially not Mr. Olmert, has the intention of publishing it without getting the censor’s approval. Beyond this book, Mr. Olmert has not released any classified material of any other sort, he has not passed such materials on and did not publish them.”
The Union of Journalists in Israel at the time condemned the police searches of the Yediot Aharonot
building, saying they violated “the principle of journalistic confidentiality, which has been recognized many times in the rulings of the Supreme Court, and protects the flow of information to the public through the press.”