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Amazon, Pentagon war cloud controversy draws Defense Department review

Brittany De Lea

The U.S Department of Defense will review a pending cloud contract expected to be awarded to either Microsoft or Amazon later this month, following complaints that there have been conflicts of interest involving Amazon throughout the procurement process.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is reviewing accusations of unfairness, as reported by Politico.

The review is expected to delay a verdict on the winner, the publication reported, which was expected to be announced later this month.

Amazon did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment about the Defense Department review.

President Trump previously 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 last month. “We’re looking at it very seriously, it’s a very big contract, one of the biggest ever given.”

Trump said the complaints were coming from other “great companies,” like Microsoft, Oracle and IBM.

The contract in question is the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, a winner-take-all job that is valued around $10 billion.

The Office of the Inspector General is already looking into the contract because of potential conflicts of interest among employees who worked for the Department of Defense and Amazon – one of two companies left in the race alongside Microsoft.

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

The Defense Department intended to announce a winner next month – and has already begun identifying programs that could be transitioned to the JEDI infrastructure.

Amazon was viewed as an early 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.

However, the e-commerce giant’s recent connection to the massive Capitol One data breach could also come under scrutiny. Paige Thompson – the alleged hacker – was a former Amazon Web Services employee, and was said to have been able to access data from an estimated 100 million people in the U.S., including some information stored on Amazon Web Services.

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She also referred to other data that was not properly secured on Amazon databases that she accessed, as reported by Bloomberg.

House Republicans have asked the e-commerce giant to brief them on security protocols for its cloud storage database.

If Amazon won the JEDI contract, it would be responsible for migrating the Pentagon’s data to the cloud.

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