Amazon livid over decision to re-open bidding for $600 million CIA contract

bezosfullAmazon.com’s federal complaint over a $600 million contract to provide cloud computing services to the Central Intelligence Agency was made public today and shows how strongly the Seattle online giant believes it deserves to provide its services to the government.

Back in March, it appeared Amazon had hit a home run with the CIA cloud computing deal, but IBM — a company with longstanding partnerships with government agencies — protested the contract. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) then recommended that the CIA reopen negotiations, which it did.

That led to Amazon’s suit last month, a redacted version of which was made public today and first spotted by Jay Greene of the Seattle Times. The 79-page suit reveals how Amazon argued that IBM did not demonstrate the technology the CIA wanted and how it believed the GAO’s recommendation was “flawed” and violated federal law.

“The GAO decision contravenes well-established precedent regarding timeliness, standing, and prejudice, ignores several critical defenses entirely, and infringes on the Agency’s substantial discretion to design and conduct procurements,” Amazon writes in the suit.

The CIA is now accepting new bids for the contract.

Amazon is a new player in the government sector and particularly in the security/intelligence realm, one that’s been dominated by traditional companies like IBM and HP. When Amazon’s deal with the CIA was first announced, Federal Computer Week’s Frank Konkel reported that Amazon would help the CIA “build a private cloud infrastructure that helps the agency keep up with emerging technologies like big data in a cost-effective manner not possible under the CIA’s previous cloud efforts.”

Here’s the redacted version of the lawsuit:

  • anonymous

    Anyone who has worked with IBM’s platform knows its a piece of outdated garbage.

    • Guest

      Right which means its the more suitable platform for the government, right?

      Of course Amazon not being in PRISM has nothing to do with this. I mean the Government would punish someone for not playing ball by yanking a contract would they?

  • Guest

    Well, I don’t know the full history of this, but if AWS was awarded the contract without a bidding opportunity to competitors, then the deal violated the rules. Boeing, CAT, Deere, Oshkosh, they all know you have to play the bidding wars to get the contract. Maybe they can snag some paper pushers from Boeing to handle the government red tape next time?

    • tryingtocalmdown

      Very unlikely that a contract this large was “no bid”. The article says IBM “protested” the award, which is de riguer with big gov’t contracts. IBM is clearly the more experienced player here but doesn’t mean Amazon won’t win it eventually. The price of winning though will be having to contract about $100 million to IBM.