Comptroller to publish damning report on home front war

By DAN IZENBERG
July 10, 2007 23:29
2 minute read.

 
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State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss is due on Wednesday to release his long-awaited report on the state's preparedness and handling of the home front during last year's Second Lebanon War. After completing the first draft of the report in February, Lindenstrauss warned at the time that it would be "incisive and anger many people." He added that the report would include personal recommendations regarding individuals whom he held responsible for failures. The draft report was said to have been 600 pages long. The final report will be issued one day before the anniversary of the outbreak of the war according to the secular calendar. Lindenstrauss will present the report to Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik at 12:30 and then hold a press conference in his office an hour later, where he will distribute copies of it to the media. The state comptroller began investigating the performance of the government and army in protecting the home front as soon as the war was over. Investigators spoke to dozens of witnesses including all the cabinet ministers involved with the home front during the war, former chief of General Staff Dan Halutz and former police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi. If, as expected, the report includes severe criticism of the government's handling of the home front, the Knesset State Control Committee is empowered by law to order the appointment of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the matter. The home front report has been plagued with controversy from the outset. Early on, Lindenstrauss sharply criticized Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for declaring that the state comptroller would examine the home front as part of what was supposed to have been a series of fragmented investigations of the war effort. The state comptroller proclaimed that he had decided on his own to investigate the matter in accordance with his legal prerogatives and had not been appointed to do so by Olmert. But the angry exchange between them on this matter was just one of the incidents that has led over the past year to bitter recriminations between the two, culminating in Olmert's recent accusation that Lindenstrauss was breaking the law. The two clashed again over the home front report in March, when the Knesset State Control Committee, headed by MK Zevulun Orlev (NU-NRP), asked Lindenstrauss to present a report to the committee on his interim findings. Orlev said that Lindenstrauss would name the names of those he felt had been responsible for failures in the government's activities. Lindenstrauss backed away and did not present details to the committee about the report. On March 5, the state comptroller sent copies of the draft report to all those who were liable to be hurt by it, and asked them to submit their replies by May 5. Originally, he had intended to present the report by mid-June, but postponed it until now. However, at the meeting, he took the opportunity to blast Olmert for failing to answer all of the 12 questions he had submitted to him in writing on December 25, 2006, and to which the prime minister was supposed to reply by mid-February. At the time of the committee meeting on March 6, Olmert had still not answered all the questions, charged the state comptroller. Olmert sent the remaining replies to Lindenstrauss at the end of March.

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