The Honorable James Mattis
Secretary, Department of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC  20301

Dear Mr. Secretary:

dept of defenseWe write to bring to your attention a matter that has long required redress by the highest levels of Department of Defense (DOD) leadership.   Dr. David Tenenbaum, an Army civilian employee and engineer with the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), was the subject of a series of espionage allegations. The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General has determined  that these allegations were false and initiated with discriminatory intent. (1) This matter is 25 years old and, despite the findings of the Inspector General, Dr. Tenenbaum  has received no relief and no one has been held accountable  for the discrimination which led to these egregious actions.  We request that you personally review this case and direct DOD to take appropriate action to provide Dr. Tenenbaum  redress.

This case began in July 1992, when TACOM employees made espionage allegations against Dr. Tenenbaum.  These allegations led to DOD investigative activities and two Federal Bureau of lnvestigation (FBI) preliminary inquiries.

Sen. Claire McCaskill

 Dr. Tenenbaum sought relief against these actions, but was stymied  by national security claims raised by DOD, which remain unclear and unverified.  Finally, in 2006, Senator Carl Levin requested that the Inspector General conduct an investigation into the matter (2). After reviewing both classified and unclassified material, the Inspector General rel eased its findings in July 2008.  Specifically, the Inspector General found that Dr. 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.”

Furthermore, the Inspector General concluded that the “personnel security and counterintelligence investigation process was poorly handled and managed” and that Dr. Tenenbaum “is, and has always been, a dedicated, loyal and professional civil servant in the service of our Nation.” (3)

The false allegations against Dr. Tenenbaum have not only caused him personal hardship, but also disrupted his professional progress and credentials.  In 1997, in addition to being temporarily suspended from work, Dr. Tenenbaum lost his access to classified  information.   

Sen. Gary Peters

In  2000, his security clearance was revoked.   Subsequently, the revocation was found to be based on unsubstantiated allegations in 2003 and, even in the face of the other allegations, his clearance was restored and upgraded, which emphasizes the dubious nature of the claims against him.  Dr. Tenenbaum has been in a professional stalemate since this ordeal began and has been unable to seek other opportunities within DOD or elsewhere.

The Inspector General ‘s report was an overdue step in the right direction, but 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.

This inaction may also discourage employees from reporting other concerns, which has serious implications for waste, fraud, abuse, and national security.   Furthermore, this case has lingered for a considerable number of years and requires serious and prompt attention from DOD leadership.  We ask that you direct the cessation of any retaliatory action towards Dr. Tenenbaum and take action to resolve this matter once and for all.  In doing so, we also request that your staff inform our offices of the steps you plan to take to address Dr. Tenenbaum’s case on or before November 22, 2017.   Thank you for your attention to this matter.  Please contact Saundrea Shropshire at or Joseph Lindblad at Please send any official correspondence related to this request to


Claire McCaskill
Ranking Member

Gary Peters
U.S. Senator

CC: Ron Johnson

    Chuck Grassley
    U.S. Senator

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