State to examine PM's role in Arad probe

PM Netanyahu alleged to have told his staff to conceal information from the State Comptroller’s Office.

Uzi Arad 390 (photo credit: REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen)
Uzi Arad 390
(photo credit: REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen)
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said on Tuesday that he will examine allegations that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his staff to conceal information from the State Comptroller’s Office.
The announcement came in a special meeting of the Knesset’s State Control Committee, convened to discuss allegations made by former National Security Council head Uzi Arad.
Arad also accused the Prime Minister’s Office of failing to implement the National Security Act and of leaking information to the media.
Last May, Netanyahu forced Arad to resign because he was revealed as the source of a serious security leak.
Netanyahu, furious at the leak in July 2010, directed the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to investigate and find the source. According to a Channel 10 report, the leak was unintentional and came as a side comment during a background briefing with a journalist.
Tuesday’s State Control Committee meeting was also convened following an interview Arad gave to Yediot Aharonot earlier this month in which he accused the prime minister of asking staff to conceal information during an audit by the State Comptroller’s Office. In the interview, Arad also denied leaking information.
In the meeting, the former NSC head accused Netanyahu of ordering his staff to lie to the state comptroller, and said the prime minister’s legal adviser, Shulamit Barnea, had passed on “only part of what he [Arad] said” to the state comptroller during the audit.
Arad said Barnea had failed to transfer “professional and factual data” to Lindenstrauss.
“According to my value system, it is not possible that the truth is not told when answering a parliamentary or governmental enquiry,” Arad said.
The response Barnea issued was intended to prevent the state comptroller from knowing the truth, he added.
Barnea responded that she had always assisted the State Comptroller’s Office and that she instructed her staff to do the same. Arad was not qualified to interpret the law, she added.
Barnea said that the NSC’s response had been incorporated into the draft response to the State Comptroller’s Report, but that some of Arad’s answers were “not correct” and contradicted one another.
During the meeting, MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima) said that it was “terrible that the prime minister uses his legal adviser as a political tool.”
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said that there was a “media dramatization” to the whole issue. His faction colleague MK Arye Eldad asked whether the “defense minister or the prime minister could be stopped at the airport tomorrow and be stripped of his security clearances,” referring to the way Arad’s security clearance was removed.