IDF spokesperson ’questioned’

IDF spokesperson ’questioned’
# 14 August 2010 18:50 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Senior IDF officers will be called to the police interrogation room in the near future as part of the "Galant document" investigation, a former senior police investigator told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday, APA reports quoting The Jerusalem Post.

On Friday evening, Channel One news reported that IDF spokesman Avi Benayahu was questioned on three to four occasions by the National Serious and International Crimes (NSCIC) Unit last week over the
Police have refused to confirm or deny the Channel One report, saying that a media blackout has been imposed on all details of the investigation due to its sensitivity.

"They [the police] are walking on a tightrope. They have to question senior army officers, and have the officers take a polygraph test. This is humiliating [for the IDF officers]. If a media report surfaced saying that a senior army official was questioned, it could finish the officer’s career in the army, regardless of what he did or didn’t do. Hence, the police have to maintain the blackout," former National Fraud Unit senior investigator, Dep.-Cmdr. (ret.) Boaz Guttman, said.

The Galant document, leaked to Channel Two last week, claims to show how the Arad Communications public relations firm drew up a plan to damage the reputations of senior IDF officers, as part of a strategy to promote the candidacy of OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant for the position of IDF chief of General Staff.

Benayahu, who reportedly has feuded with Galant repeatedly, was questioned as a witness rather than a suspect last week, Israel Radio reported over the weekend.

Referring to the rivalries that exist at the helm of the army, Guttman said, "This is the latest manifestation of previous dirty media campaigns. Galant’s rivals in the army will have to be questioned. Detectives are asking themselves, who profited from this document? Who profited from leaking it? These questions have to be asked. Everyone in the Army who could be connected with this will be questioned."

Meanwhile, the IDF or the Shin Bet are likely carrying out their own secret check into document, Guttman said. "This is happening quietly, and without connection to the police investigation," he added.

Last week, a police source told the Post that the investigation could go far beyond the suspicion of "forging a document."

Guttman described the suspicion of forgery as "trivial," adding, "To draw up an indictment on that alone is minor. The Israel Police does not want to work as a contractor for Channel Two News, which didn’t do its job properly and failed to check whether the document is authentic... The investigators will be looking for additional clauses to add to an indictment sheet, like fraud, violation of public trust, and misusing one’s office. All of these are potential suspicions. You don’t need the NSIC unit to investigate a mere forgery. NSIC Unit commander Assnt.-Cmdr. Haim Ifragan will be looking to add to the charge sheet."