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Amazon files lawsuit over Pentagon war cloud contract citing 'unmistakable bias' in bidding process

Brittany De Lea

E-commerce giant Amazon officially filed a lawsuit on Friday challenging the Pentagon’s decision to award its massive war cloud contract to the only other bidder in the procurement process — Microsoft — Amazon confirmed to FOX Business.

The suit, filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, is over the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, contract, a winner-take-all job that is valued at about $10 billion. It is intended to help the military upgrade and transfer classified data.

Amazon’s cloud unit, Amazon Web Services, said in a statement to FOX Business that it believes it is uniquely qualified to provide the technology to the U.S. military.

"We believe it's critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence," the spokesperson said. "Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias -- and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”

The news was first reported by Bloomberg.

The company previously said it intended to challenge the outcome, also citing procurement process “errors” and “bias."

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A Department of Defense spokesperson told FOX Business that it is aware Amazon filed the protest and will review it along with the Department of Justice, though it remains "confident in the JEDI award."

"The source selection process was conducted in accordance with the stated criteria in the solicitation and procurement law. Our focus continues to be on getting the warfighters these much needed capabilities as quickly and efficiently as possible.

A spokesperson for Microsoft also said the company has confidence in the decision.

"We have confidence in the qualified staff at the Department of Defense, and we believe the facts will show they ran a detailed, thorough and fair process in determining the needs of the warfighter were best met by Microsoft," the spokesperson said.

Late last month, Microsoft was declared the winner in the race, which became the object of heightened scrutiny. Amazon had been considered the frontrunner due to its other standing cloud deals, including a $600 million cloud contract with the CIA. That indicates the company already has the approval to handle sensitive government data. The company, however, got drawn up in public controversy.

The Department of Defense reviewed the pending cloud contract following complaints there had been conflicts of interest involving Amazon and Department of Defense employees throughout the procurement process.

President Trump had said that the lucrative but contested $10 billion cloud contract may be biased in favor of Amazon.

“I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon, they’re saying it wasn’t competitively bid,” Trump told reporters in July. “We’re looking at it very seriously, it’s a very big contract, one of the biggest ever given.”

Republicans sent a letter to Trump in July asking him to request that the Pentagon delay declaring either Amazon or Microsoft a winner.

Oracle, IBM and Google were the other initial contenders for the massive contract. Oracle challenged the bidding process in court last year but lost.

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