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US Gov't Finds 'Religious Bias' in Accusations Against Jew

U.S. Department of Defense says that an Army engineer accused of spying for Israel was unjustly targeted because of his religion.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 7/24/2008, 1:25 PM

A final report released by the U.S. Department of Defense finds that an Army engineer accused of spying for Israel over ten years ago was unfairly targeted because of his religion.

The Army engineer, David Tenenbaum, is an Orthodox Jew.

The U.S. government report did not specify any corrective action to be taken on behalf of Tenenbaum.

Harassed Amidst Accusations
The New York-based YeshivaWorldNews website reports that Tenenbaum was given a polygraph test in 1997 regarding charges of espionage, and that he was urged to confess to having spied for Israel. Among the harassment measures he experienced in this connection, he said, were: anti-Jewish epithets being shouted at him, the confiscation of his computer, the erasure of his name from the e-mail system at the military facility in Warren, Michigan where he worked, and the ransacking of his home by investigators.

YeshivaWorldNews, which has been tracking the story, reported that the FBI conducted a year-long criminal investigation against Tenenbaum, after which the Justice Department concluded that there was no basis on which to prosecute him. 

Tenenbaum has maintained throughout the ordeal that he was persecuted merely because of his religion.

Senator Initiates Investigation
The Defense Department report vindicating his claims was initiated over two years ago at the behest of Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The report acknowledges that Mr. Tenenbaum was “the subject of inappropriate treatment by Department of the Army and Defense Investigative officials.”  It noted negatively the government's use of a personnel security investigation “as a ruse for a counterintelligence investigation."  

"Subjected to Unwelcome Scrutiny Because of His Faith"
Most significantly, the report stated, “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..."

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, who represented Agudath Israel of America in pressing the government on the case, said that the report is 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.”

No Compensation, No Punishment
However, as noted, no compensation was determined for Tenenbaum, nor was there any indication that the perpetrators of the discrimination would be punished.