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Tag: Warren Tank Plant

Civilian Engineer at Michigan Military Facility Falsely Accused of Being Israeli Spy; Subjected to Anti-Semitism At Work


David Tenenbaum (Facebook photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — For the past 33 years, David Tenenbaum has worked as a civilian engineer at the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, known as TACOM, near 11 Mile and Mound roads in Warren, a suburb of Detroit.

And for a good part of that time, he tells the Detroit Jewish News, he was subjected to vile anti-Semitism from co-workers and from the Army itself. At one point, he was falsely accused by co-workers of being a spy for Israel, something that eventually triggered a painful FBI probe.

Tenenbaum, a Southfield, Mich.,  resident, was eventually cleared. And in 2008, the Inspector General found that 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.”

Still, til this day, he says he has been purposely underutilized, subjected to isolation and remains a pariah at work.

Now, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Michigan Democrat Sen. Gary Peters, a committee member, have sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis asking that he provide closure and relief for the 60-year-old Tenenbaum. They want the Army to stop any workplace retaliation, and stop limiting his opportunities.

One of the reason he was hired at TACOM was his familiarity with Israel and his ability to speak Hebrew with Israeli counterparts.

The Jewish News reports:

Everything fell apart, however, when some of Tenenbaum’s local co-workers secretly and falsely accused him of spying for Israel in 1996. Tenenbaum later discovered they had been secretly accusing him of such spying as early as 1992. He found out they would observe him, an Orthodox Jew, carrying his kosher lunch to work every day in a backpack and they would fantasize that the backpack could be used to smuggle classified documents out of the building.

Some co-workers didn’t like him, he said, because he was a diligent employee who didn’t goof off on the job or join co-workers at restaurants for lunch or at bars after office hours. Some co-workers made anti-Semitic remarks behind his back, and a bag of pork rinds was once placed on his desk.

He recounts that one reason people said they suspected him of spying for Israel was that he spoke Hebrew with the Israelis — ironically one of his major qualifications for being hired at TACOM in the first place.

The letter by the two senators says:

“DOD’s lack of a remedy in accordance with the Inspector General’s findings sends a message that DOD is not concerned with even the most egregious cases of discrimination and employee retaliation,

Jewish Engineer Sues Justice Dept. and DOD After Being Cleared of Spying for Israel

This has been a long running saga that derailed his career. Now David Tenenbaum is striking back.

By DAVID N. GOODMAN
Associated Press Writer
DETROIT — An Orthodox Jewish Army engineer who was cleared of spying for Israel sued the U.S. Defense and Justice departments Thursday, saying they made false security claims to prevent him from seeking compensation.

David Tenenbaum and his wife, Madeline, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Detroit, calling the secrecy claim “frivolous” and an “abuse of power.”

In addition to the government, the lawsuit names former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and several other individuals as defendants.

A spokesman for the Defense Department’s inspector general declined comment Thursday on the Tenenbaums’ lawsuit, their second since 1998 when they sued over religious discrimination.

The Pentagon put Tenenbaum on paid leave in 1997 while it investigated whether he was supplying secrets to Israel. Investigators cleared him, and he still works at the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command in Warren.

Tenenbaum, 51, is the son of a Holocaust survivor and speaks Hebrew. One of his primary duties at the tank command was to design and develop safer combat vehicles, and he was in frequent contact with military engineers from other nations, including Israelis.

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