Report: Army engineer targeted for religion

A U.S. Army engineer accused 10 years ago of spying for Israel was unjustly targeted because of his religion, a review found.

A final report released by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense backs David Tenenbaum’s claim that he was targeted for investigation because of his faith and ethnic background.

Tenenbaum was given a polygraph test in 1997 during which he said anti-Jewish epithets were shouted at him. The next day, he says, he found his computer gone and his name erased from the e-mail system at the Tank Automotive and Armaments Command, the military facility in Warren, Michigan where he worked. After a year-long FBI criminal investigation, the U.S. Justice Department determined that there was no basis to prosecute Tenenbaum

In March, 2006, Sen. Carl Levin (D.-Mich.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked the inspector general conduct an independent review of the case.

The report says Tenenbaum was “the subject of inappropriate treatment by Department of the Army and Defense Investigative officials” by their use of a personnel security investigation “as a ruse for a counterintelligence investigation,” and that “Mr. Tenenbaum’s religion was a factor in the decision that resulted in the inappropriate continuation” of the investigation. “We believe that Mr. Tenenbaum was subjected to unusual and unwelcome scrutiny because of his faith and ethnic background, a practice that would undoubtedly fit a definition of discrimination,” the report says.

Rabbi David Zwiebel, who represented Agudath Israel of America in pressing the Defense Department on the case, said that the report represented “a happy if belated resolution to Mr. Tenenbaum’s ordeal.” And, he added, “it is, further, a historic disavowal by the Defense Department of the notion that religious Jews are somehow to be regarded, by virtue of their religion, as untrustworthy employees of the government.”

NEXT STORY