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Pentagon Barred From Discussing Trump In JEDI Contract Probe

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The Pentagon’s move to award Microsoft an estimated $ 10 billion cloud computing deal was in line with legal and state purchasing standards, according to a government watchdog released Wednesday.

The review by the Inspector General of the Defense Department comes after Amazon’s long-standing look at the Pentagon’s joint venture security plan, known as the Jedi after Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the State Department last October.

The deal, worth $ 10 billion, was awarded to Microsoft last October, which prompted the tech rival, Amazon, to cry.

Amazon Web Services, the market leader in providing cloud computing services, has long been considered the leading candidate to run the Pentagon’s corporate security infrastructure program known as Jedi. The program will store and process a wide range of detailed data, including the US. This will allow the military to improve communications with soldiers on the battlefield and use artificial intelligence to accelerate its combat planning and fighting capabilities.

Pentagon USA
Pentagon USA (Source: commons.wikipedia.org)

Amazon sued the Pentagon’s decision after Microsoft won the deal. Work on the project has been halted while the lawsuit is filed.

The US. The judge, who presided over the bidding process in federal claims court, said in March that Amazon’s challenge might have qualified some technical grounds involving pricing.

The review, released Wednesday by the Inspector General of the Defense Department, did not decide on whether Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp.. was appropriately named the winner. Instead, it looked at whether the decision-making process was genuine and legitimate. It also examined allegations of immoral conduct by Pentagon officials involved in the matter and generally determined that any ethical shortcomings would not affect the outcome.

The investigation also sought to determine whether the White House was affected by the Pentagon’s decision, as Amazon alleges. Although it appears that such White House pressure is not present, critics certainly cannot determine the full extent of White House interactions with the Pentagon’s decision-makers.

“We could not review this matter fully because of the assertion of a ‘presidential communications privilege,’ which resulted in several DOD witnesses being instructed by the DOD Office of General Counsel not to answer our questions about potential communications between White House and DOD officials about JEDI,” the report said.

The report “confirms that the Department of Defense conducted the JEDI Cloud procurement process fairly and in accordance with the law,” Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Robert Carver said in a statement.

“However, we believe the evidence we received showed that the DOD personnel who evaluated the contract proposals and awarded Microsoft the JEDI cloud contract were not pressured by any DOD leaders more senior to them, who may have communicated with the White House,” the report said.

Amazon has insisted that the bid was improperly affected by President Donald Trump’s dislike of Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos. Bezos owns The Washington Post, a news agency often criticized by Trump.

“Executive privilege is designed to protect national security and the president’s candid conversations with close advisers, not to block agency officials from discussing a large government contract that does not call for direct presidential decision-making,” the group’s top lawyer, Scott Amey, said in a statement.

A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Robert Carver, said the inspector general’s report shows that the contract award process was fair and legal.

“The IG’s team found that there was no influence by the White House or DoD leadership on the career source selection boards, which made the ultimate vendor selection,” he said. “This report should finally close the door on the media and corporate-driven attacks on the career procurement officials who have been working tirelessly to get the much-needed JEDI cloud computing environment into the hands of our frontline warfighters while continuing to protect American taxpayers.”

Akarshan Narang
Akarshan Narang
Covering the world of Cloud at CMI.

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