Gov't: Police didn't withhold messages in Harpaz affair

Justice Ministry: Claims that text messages between Harpaz, Ashkenazi's wife not given to prosecution are "baseless."

Harpaz 311 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Harpaz 311
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The government dismissed as "baseless" on Saturday night claims that the police had failed to hand over to the State Attorney's Office the content of text messages between Boaz Harpaz and Ronit Ashkenazi, the wife of the former Chief of Staff.
In 2010, Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, a former intelligence officer, forged a document that detailed fictitious plans to damage the reputations of senior IDF officers.
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The forged document was intended to falsely gave the impression that a PR firm had been hired by Gen.(ret.) Yoav Galant, who had been a senior candidate to become IDF chief of General Staff, to damage the reputations of other competitors for the post of chief of general staff.
A recent Channel One report alleged that former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi's wife Ronit acted as a mediator between Boaz Harpaz and others connected with the forgery of the so-called "Galant Document."
The report also claimed that police had not handed over to the prosecution the contents of around 1,500 text messages that Harpaz exchanged with Ronit Ashkenazi.
In a statement late Saturday night, the Justice Ministry dismissed claims that the Attorney General and State Attorney's Office had never actually requested the content of those text messages or that the police had not passed the messages to the prosecution.
According to the Justice Ministry, during the investigation into the affair, the police had obtained a warrant to seize communication data between Harpaz and others involved in the matter.
As police handed over communication data to the State Attorney's office, it was revealed that Harpaz had exchanged many text messages with Ronit Ashkenazi.
The prosecution asked the police to turn over the content of those text messages.
However, the police explained to the prosecution that the actual content of the text messages could not be obtained retroactively from the cellular company.
"As opposed to what was published [on Channel One], the Attorney General and the State Prosecutor's Office specifically requested the text message content during the investigation, but made it clear that that content does not exist and cannot be procured as part of the investigation," the Justice Ministry said. "The prosecution did not refrain from requesting investigation material, and the police did not retain seized material without passing it to the prosecution."
The Justice Ministry also noted that the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein had decided to transfer all the material gathered in the Harpaz case to the State Comptroller, who is conducting a detailed review of the public and wider aspects of the case.
"In line with the law, if the State Comptroller finds after that review that there is any suspicion of criminal offenses in any of the material he is examining, he will refer the matter to the Attorney General.
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report