Police Raid Publishing House Searching for Olmert ‘Secret Documents’

YERUSHALAYIM -
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. (David Vaaknin/Pool)

Police on Thursday raided the offices of the Yediot Publishing House, the book-publishing arm of the Yediot Acharonot newspaper. Yediot Publishing is set to publish a book authored by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, currently serving a prison term for corruption, bribe-taking and influence-peddling. Police were searching for evidence and documents relating to state secrets they suspect Olmert has been leaking, to be used in his book. Also raided Thursday was the home of the Yediot Publishing editor working with Olmert on the book. Yediot Publishing had no comment on the raid Thursday.

Olmert is writing a “tell all” book that will sum up his experience in public life. According to friends and supporters of the disgraced former prime minister quoted by Globes, the book will include “many sensational revelations about senior officials, institutions, security incidents, and other ‘sacred cows.’ Everything will be up for exposing.”

Olmert supporters told Globes that his purpose in writing the book is not necessarily for profit, but “to clear his good name.” Many of the incidents mentioned in the book are extremely sensitive, the report said, and “dozens of pages” have been excluded by the IDF censor, which must give its approval for publication before the book can be released. Olmert is writing the book longhand, it added, as the former prime minister does not have access to a computer or email.

However, prison officials said, Olmert has documents that he is not showing the military censor — and he has written pages of the book that he has been trying to pass through to his publisher without submission to the censor. Prison officials said that the smuggling efforts were worthy of punishment, and they will pull privileges he has accrued.

It is these documents that police are searching for. Several documents were already found in Olmert’s cell, causing him to lose privileges that he had accrued for good behavior. Among other things, Olmert was placed in solitary confinement and banned from seeing his lawyer for several weeks. In a statement, prison officials said that Olmert was seen passing envelopes to his lawyer, and the suspicion is that those envelopes contain sensitive documents that Olmert had in his possession when he began his prison term.

Olmert entered Maasiyahu Prison in central Israel in February 2016 to begin serving his sentence, after his appeals to overturn his conviction on corruption charges were rejected. A plea for clemency was turned down by President Reuven Rivlin earlier this year, meaning that Olmert will have to serve his full term of 27 months in prison, which is up in the summer of 2018.