US president Donald Trump exerted “escalating and overt pressure” to “screw Amazon” out of the $10bn Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative (JEDI) defense contract, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has claimed.
In court papers challenging the award of the contract by the Department of Defense (DoD) to Microsoft, AWS claimed critical evaluation criteria were “inexplicably disregarded” and AWS’s offer was “mischaracterised” to “give the false appearance of technical parity between AWS and Microsoft”.
“The government procurement process – through which hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are awarded each year to provide essential government services, including to our nation's military – demands objective and even-handed administration based on facts and fair comparisons, not personal animus and undue influence,” said AWS.
“In this case, the president made it widely known to everyone – including on publicly broadcast television and through his prolific tweets – that DoD should not award the JEDI contract to AWS. The blatant, inexplicable errors in DoD’s award to Microsoft make plain that president Trump's message had its intended and predictable effect.”
An RFP for the contract, which involves the collection and storage of sensitive military data in the cloud for use on the battlefield, was finalised in July 2018.
The court papers, filed in the Court of Federal Claims, said there was a “clear factual record establishing AWS’s technical superiority over Microsoft – including broad consensus among industry analysts and experts who assessed AWS as the clear frontrunner for the JEDI contract”.
But the papers added: “Throughout the final year of the multi-year award process, the president of the United States and commander in chief of our military used his power to ‘screw Amazon’ out of the JEDI contract as part of his highly public personal vendetta against [Jeff] Bezos, Amazon, and the Washington Post [which is owned by Bezos].”
AWS said Trump had “made no secret of his personal dislike for Mr Bezos, Amazon, and the Washington Post, or of his express desire to harm them”.
“The seeds of this animus originate with the Washington Post’s coverage of him before he even was elected president,” said the papers. “That coverage placed Mr Bezos, Amazon, and the Washington Post directly in the crosshairs of president Trump’s wrath.”
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