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Ashkenazi defends himself amid speculation of A-G probe
By YAAKOV KATZ
05/06/2012
Former IDF chief of staff rejects claims of wrongdoing on his part in the so-called Harpaz affair.
 
Former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi on Friday rejected claims of wrongdoing on his part in the so-called Harpaz affair, amid speculation that Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein may open a criminal probe into the scandal.

Ashkenazi said he fully supported a more comprehensive review of the issues, “particularly the erasing of recordings of conversations held in the defense minister’s office as well as regarding the question of who really is behind the ‘Harpaz Document.’” He said that State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss received all of the recordings of relevant conversations that took place in IDF offices but that when similar recordings were requested of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, they had been mistakenly erased.

“Investigation authorities have the ability to clarify the facts regarding the conduct of all those involved,” Ashkenazi said.

Also on Friday, Military Advocate- General Brig.-Gen. Danny Efroni asked Lindenstrauss to turn over all of the material collected during the state comptroller’s review of the affair, to see if there were any criminal implications from the perspective of the IDF.

The Harpaz affair is named for Lt. Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, a former Military Intelligence officer who allegedly forged a document detailing a strategy for how to get former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant appointed as chief of staff in place of Ashkenazi. Barak wanted Galant for the post, while Ashkenazi was believed to have wanted a fifth year in the job for himself.

The document was leaked in 2010 to Channel 2 and was later discovered to have been forged. While Galant was tapped by the government as the next chief of staff, he ultimately lost out on the appointment due to an unconnected land affair involving his home in Moshav Amikam.

The final State Comptroller’s Report on the matter has yet to be released but a leak from the draft version raises serious questions regarding the interaction between the defense minister and the IDF chief of staff.

What is unclear, though, is what set off the war between Barak and Ashkenazi – one that has led Barak to accuse Ashkenazi of leading a “coup” attempt along with several of the officers who worked closely with him, and trying to undermine the government’s authority over the IDF.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
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