Detectives raid Arad office for evidence

Police source says probe may expand to "other suspicions."

Galant 298 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Galant 298
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Police confiscated equipment and documents from political strategist Eyal Arad’s Tel Aviv office on Monday, three days after Channel 2 reported that Arad had written a controversial document advising OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen.
Yoav Galant to besmirch his rivals in the race to be the next IDF chief of General Staff.
Galant denies 'false' allegations
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Lahav 433 Unit officers, headed by Cmdr. David Mantzur, took equipment and documents from Arad’s office, checked computers, and spoke to staff. Arad was questioned by police when he filed a forgery complaint with them on Sunday.
“I promised to give the police any information that I have, and I am keeping that promise,” he said. “The police and I both have an interest in expediting the investigation to allow them to find whoever forged the document as soon as possible. This crime was committed against me and hurts my business. It’s not good for a communications office to be put in this position, which I was put in against my will.”
Detectives from Lahav 433 opened an urgent investigation on Sunday to determine whether the document was a forgery. Police spokespeople have been ordered not to comment on the investigation, due to its sensitivity.
But one law enforcement source told The Jerusalem Post that the investigation was “dynamic,” and that while detectives were currently concentrating on figuring out whether the document was authentic or not, “other suspicions” could crop up in the course of the investigation.
“Right now, the focus of the investigation is the document.
But additional suspicions could develop,” the source said. “This won’t necessarily end with the document.”
The source would not discuss what other potential suspicions police were anticipating probing.
The investigation is being closely monitored by the head of the police’s Investigations Branch, Cmdr. Yoav Saglovitch, and Israel Police Insp.-Gen.
David Cohen. Police will present their findings to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.
Warrant issued to Channel 2 to hand over document
The next steps for police include questioning senior IDF officers and the two Channel 2 reporters who broke the story, Amnon Abramovitch and Roni Daniel. A warrant was issued on Monday evening to receive the reporters’ copy of the document, which they claim they received from a secret source.
Channel 2 news has refused to submit the document to police or to reveal the source, but Abramovitch said he was looking forward to testifying.
“Every word in the document can be revealed and handed over, but not the document itself,” a Channel 2 official said.
Weinstein ordered the police to expedite the inquiry due to its sensitivity. He told Defense Minister Ehud Barak that meanwhile, he could continue interviewing candidates to replace Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi in February, but he could not announce his decision. Barak had intended to make the announcement within a month.
The members of the General Staff, which include three candidates for army chief, convened in Tel Aviv on Monday for their regular meeting, which was described as tense.
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen.
Avi Benayahu said the work of the Defense Ministry and the army must go on, despite the scandal and the investigation.
He admitted for the first time that there was tension between Barak and Ashkenazi, but said there were other defense ministers and chiefs of General Staff who had had worse relations.
“Whether the document was fabricated or not, it could damage the trust the public has in the IDF, which is its greatest asset,” Benayahu said. “We want this cloud removed as soon as possible.”
When asked by Army Radio whether he would agree to take a polygraph test as a possible suspect, Benayahu avoided the question but said that “the IDF would cooperate with the police investigation and any requests that the police may have.”