As some of the biggest U.S. technology companies have lined up to bid on the $10 billion contract to create a massive Pentagon cloud computing network, the behind-the-scenes war to win it has turned ugly.
In the past several months, a private investigative firm has been shopping around to Washington reporters a 100-plus-page dossier raising the specter of corruption on the part of senior Defense Department and private company officials in the cloud contract competition. But at least some of the dossier’s conclusions do not stand up to close scrutiny.
The dossier insinuates that a top aide to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis worked with Mattis and others to steer the contracting process to favor Amazon Web Services, or AWS—and enrich the aide. The aim of the dossier seems clear: to prevent the deal from going solely to AWS, the odds-on favorite in part because it operates the CIA’s classified commercial cloud. Far less clear, however, is who backed its creation and distribution.