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Amazon says Trump’s ‘improper pressure’ doomed Pentagon bid

Published:Monday | December 9, 2019 | 1:56 PM
In this February 14, 2019, file photo people stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Amazon says President Donald Trump’s “improper pressure” and behind-the-scenes attacks harmed its chances of winning a $10 billion Pentagon contract.

The Pentagon awarded the cloud computing contract to Microsoft in October.

Amazon argues in a lawsuit unsealed Monday in the US Court of Federal Claims that the decision should be revisited because of “substantial and pervasive errors” and Trump’s interference.

Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos have been a frequent target of Trump, even before he became president.

Bezos personally owns The Washington Post, which Trump has referred to as “fake news” whenever unfavourable stories are published about him.

Amazon said it lost the deal due to Trump’s “personal vendetta against Mr. Bezos, Amazon, and the Washington Post.”

Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith said in a statement Monday the decision to select Microsoft “was made by an expert team of career public servants and military officers” and without external influence.

Formally called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure plan, or JEDI, the military’s computing project would store and process vast amounts of classified data.

The Defense Department has said it will help speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities and enable the military to advance its use of artificial intelligence.

Amazon and Microsoft became the finalists after Oracle and IBM were eliminated in an earlier round of the contract competition.

Oracle had also sued, arguing the bidding was rigged in Amazon’s favour.

Trump publicly waded into the bidding process over the summer, saying he heard complaints and wanted the Pentagon to take a closer look.

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