'Everyone involved in war to be probed'

Lindenstrauss says 10% of his staff are investigating the war in Lebanon.

Ten percent of the employees in his office are working round-the-clock to investigate last month's military operations in Lebanon, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss told the Knesset's State Control Committee on Wednesday. "Everyone who participated in any way in the war has or will be investigated," he said. [For a Jerusalem Online video of events click here] Committee chairwoman Estherina Tartman (Israel Beiteinu) said she was "very satisfied" with the meeting and that she understood that Lindenstrauss was doing everything in his power to complete the report in a timely manner. "The sooner the results of the report are sent to the committee, the sooner we can meet over the findings and decide how to proceed," Tartman said.
  • Comptroller recommends investigation of Olmert She has already expressed interest in using the findings of the report to force Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to form a state commission of inquiry into the war rather than the three smaller committees he formed last week. While a state commission has broad authoritative powers to investigate and dismiss top officials from their posts, the three smaller committees formed by Olmert have been called "weak fig leaves" by many MKs, including Tartman. "When the general public, a majority of the Knesset and many military officials all agree that there needs to be a state commission of inquiry, the prime minister needs to acknowledge he has made a mistake," she said. While many MKs have tried to introduce legislation to compel Olmert to form an inquiry commission, only Tartman has the authority to force him to do so. According to Article 14 of the Knesset bylaws, Tartman can use the State Comptroller's Report to ask the president of the Supreme Court to create a state inquiry commission. The only other body with the authority to force Olmert to change his stance on the issue is the cabinet, where Olmert has a majority. Lindenstrauss has already said that he will not hesitate to use the broadest reaches of his authority during the investigation. "We will turn our attention to any authority in Israel in order to receive the necessary explanations," he said. Among the issues already investigated by the state comptroller were the level of intelligence and the readiness of the IDF's emergency storage units. Lindenstrauss also said that he had begun to examine the way in which the political echelon passed and shared information. Lindenstrauss hailed volunteer organizations for their contributions during the war. "I have to stress in the most positive manner the work of volunteers who were warmly welcomed everywhere, and who should be thanked by the general public and all of us for what they did," he said. There has been increased tension between Lindenstrauss and Olmert over the state comptroller's recommendation that Olmert be probed for illegal appointments he made while minister of industry, trade and labor.