A television report that both Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin ignored recommendations to fire the head of the General Security Service has created a political sensation here.
In addition, both Attorney General Yosef Harish and Advocate General Dorit Beinish issued a joint statement over the weekend denying an insinuation in the same report that they had recommended that the official be fired.
Although the report disclosed little new information and no changes were expected at the head of the GSS, known as the Shin Bet, public discussion alone of an official in such a sensitive position is enough to capture headlines in the local media.
Both Rabin and the Cabinet rejected charges about shortcomings in the performance of the Shin Bet director, whose identity is not allowed to be revealed by the media.
Rabin termed the report an old story and said its broadcast now was “irresponsible and harmful in the war against terror.”
Newspaper reporters noted that the recommendation to remove the official was 2 years old and speculated that either the political opposition or a power struggle within the secret service was behind the issue being raised anew.
The entire affair over the Shin Bet head began three years ago, when anonymous letters received at the office of the state comptroller faulted the director for various administrative issues.
As a result of the complaints, former Prime Minister Shamir in 1990 appointed reserve Gen. Rafael Vardi to investigate the complaints.
Vardi conducted a lengthy investigation, checking several incidents, including expenses for a paint job on the director’s car, a recommendation for a work permit given to a Palestinian employed by the director’s friend, a bouquet of flowers sent to State Comptroller Miriam Ben-Porat when she assumed office, and an unreported meeting with a journalist.
Although Vardi’s report noted several irregularities in the behavior of the official, it reportedly did not include a recommendation to remove the official.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.