Defense Minister Ehud Barak has expressed no confidence in the abilities of the IDF's intelligence chief, according to excerpts from a yet-to-be released report obtained by Yedioth Ahronoth. Barak later claimed his statemets were taken out of context.
In a testimony given to State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss over the Harpaz affair, Barak said in 2011 that Military Intelligence Chief Major General Aviv Kochavi "isn't exactly accomplished."
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"I think that Kochavi is a very talented guy, but he just doesn’t understand," Barak said. "He isn't familiar enough with the intelligence system."
Barak with Kochavi (Photo: Haim Zach)
The State Comptroller's final report, which includes the testimony, is to be released early next month. The report explores the events surrounding Lieutenant Colonel (res. ) Boaz Harpaz' alleged forgery of a document meant to bar Major General Yoav Galant from becoming IDF chief of staff.
'Kochavi excellent MI chief'
In an attempt to remedy the gaffe, Barak explained on Wednesday that officials who are new to the Military Intelligence branch take time to adjust to the system's shady side.
"This system has a facet… of power struggles and anonymous letters," Barak said. "This was the aspect that I meant that Aviv doesn't understand."
In Wednesday's statement, Barak lauded Kochavi as an "excellent" MI chief.
"The state's citizens and decision-makers can sleep easy… with Kochavi as the head of MI," he said.
"Kochavi is leading these systems to make exceptional achievements."
The defense minister suggested that his words will make more sense once they are read within the context of the full report.
"I am not one to complain about Aviv," he said. "I spent most of my youth in the MI uniform. I admit that I was surprised when I was first exposed to the behavior embodies by the Harpaz affair. I discovered the deep-rooted inappropriate elements at a very late stage. I was also slow to understand."
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