Police raid ex-PM’s publisher in search of secret documents

Suspecting a leak of classified information, police raided the offices of Olmert’s publisher.

Thursday morning the police raided both the offices of Yediot Books and the home of Yehuda Yaari, who is editing Ehud Olmert’s memoirs for the publisher. They sought classified documents they suspect were provided by the disgraced former prime minister.

Following a bribery conviction, Olmert is serving a twenty-seven month sentence in Matisyahu Prison in Ramle, which he began in February 2016.

Olmert is using his time in prison to write his memoirs. In early May, however, one of his lawyers, was caught in possession of classified documents, while visiting Olmert in jail.  A search of Olmert’s cell revealed additional classified documents.

As an ex-prime minister, Olmert holds a great deal of highly confidential and sensitive knowledge regarding Israel’s security. As such, prison authorities insisted that any memoir materials must be reviewed by censors before they could go to his publisher.

As a result of the incident, the prison service rescinded Olmert’s privileges, including a home visit and the use of a public phone. According to Channel 2, a preliminary inquiry was opened into the incident, after which the police and Shin Bet will decide on further action.

Channel 2 reported Olmert’s contention that his book was submitted to the official censors in its entirety and, in a statement last month, his lawyer said that Olmert, “does not require any seal of approval as to his connection and responsibility for subjects that are related to Israel’s national security. He has never leaked anything sensitive on subjects of security or intelligence that could have damaged the State of Israel.”

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Olmert himself stated, “I have never been told that it is forbidden to transfer written material. The lawyers are involved with my writing, and go over all the material.”

Olmert is up for a parole hearing, where he may be eligible for early release for good behavior, however, the  State Prosecutor’s office is expected to object to his early release, pending the results of the inquiry.

In March of this year, Olmert unsuccessfully appealed to President Reuven Rivlin for clemency, in the hope of an early release.

By Gary Cohen/World Israel News