PMO preparing for all possible scenarios

Winograd fallout might vary between harsh criticism and complete exoneration.

olmert the look 298 (photo credit: )
olmert the look 298
(photo credit: )
All possible scenarios stemming from the Winograd Committee's interim report - from an extremely damning report that could lead to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's resignation to a very favorable report that would exonerate him of any wrongdoing - have been considered in recent days in strategy sessions held inside the Prime Minister's Office. "We are preparing for every eventuality," one senior official in the Prime Minister's Office said. "We don't know what is in the report and are not automatically responding to every leak, but we are not disconnected from what is going on." According to widely reported leaks, the committee will be harshly critical of Olmert's decision-making during the war - saying that he was a passive leader who followed the army's lead - as well as of Defense Minister Amir Peretz and former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen (res.) Dan Halutz. Nevertheless, officials in the Prime Minister's Office said Olmert was "very confident in the decisions that he and the cabinet made [during the war], that these decisions were made rationally and were the right decisions given the information available at the time." According to the officials, Olmert also does not regret having appointed the Winograd Committee. Nevertheless, there has been a feeling in the Prime Minister's Office for some time that Olmert will be damned either way by the committee. For if the report is critical, he will be called upon to resign; but if it is not "critical enough," then those who want to see him go will say that the committee was not a serious investigative body since Olmert himself selected Eliahu Winograd as its head. Although the message that has come out of the Prime Minister's Office in recent days is that Olmert would not resign, there is also a sense that if the report is extremely black, and if it says that Olmert was personally responsible for the war and that all decisions he made were disastrous, then he would not rule out stepping aside. Olmert is scheduled to receive a copy of the interim report in his office at 4 p.m. Monday, an hour before Winograd holds a press conference and the interim report is released. From 6 p.m. onward the Prime Minister's Office is expected to launch a media blitz to respond to the report. "We are not going to sit and take this lying down," one official in Olmert's office said. "We are going to comment on it and give our position." Even with the Winograd Committee report hanging above his head, Olmert - according to his aides - is continuing with his regular schedule. For instance, on Monday, prior to the publication of the interim report, he is scheduled to meet with the visiting foreign minister from Singapore, George Yeo.