Barak: MI chief not good at power struggles

The defense minister picked a fight with Maj.-Gen. Kochavi in escalation related to ongoing Harpaz Affair investigation.

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June 6, 2012 15:22
1 minute read.
DEFENSE MINISTER Ehud Barak

DEFENSE MINISTER Ehud Barak 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak picked a fight on Wednesday with Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi in another escalation related to the ongoing State Comptroller investigation into the Harpaz Affair.

On Wednesday, Yediot Ahronot published sections of Barak’s testimony in the comptroller investigation during which the defense minister said that while Kochavi was “talented” he did not understand the “world of intelligence.”

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Barak was discussing an appointment Kochavi had made within MI of an officer who was close to Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, the alleged forger of the controversial document.

The document detailed a strategy of how to get former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant appointed chief of staff in place of Ashkenazi. It was leaked to Channel 2 in 2010 and was discovered to have been forged, leading to a comptroller investigation into the relationship between Harpaz and former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

Speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv, Barak tried to correct the gaffe. While he praised Kochavi for allowing Israel’s citizens and political leadership to “sleep well at night” due to his work as MI chief, he criticized him for not being familiar with the “power struggles, anonymous letters that exist not only there but also there. This is what I mean that Aviv does not understand.”

Barak then tried to correct himself again and said that Kochavi’s failure to understand the situation might actually be a positive reflection of the type of officer he is.

A former commander of the Paratroopers Brigade and Gaza Division, Kochavi was appointed head of Military Intelligence in 2010. He is held in high esteem within the military and the government but a number of senior MI officers have stepped down in recent months in protest of various appointments he has made.

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