- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The White House did not influence the Pentagon’s decision to award Microsoft a prized $10 billion “war cloud” contract over Amazon — despite President Trump’s frequent and public criticism of the web retail giant and its founder Jeff Bezos — Mr. Trump’s pick to be the Defense Department’s chief intelligence officer told a congressional hearing Tuesday.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in his confirmation hearing Tuesday, Dana Deasy insisted that “to the best of [his] knowledge, nobody has contacted, from the White House, any members of the source selection team” over last week’s unexpected award of the contract to rival Microsoft.

Lawmakers, as well as Mr. Trump, have previously raised questions about whether the Defense Department structured the massive contract to run the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud in a way that favored Amazon and were concerned that the Pentagon did not competitively bid the contract.

The skepticism prompted an internal review launched by Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, who later recused himself from the final decision, citing a conflict of interest related to his son’s employment with a company that bid on the contract.

Mr. Deasy insisted that the process leading up to the decision was conducted properly and fairly. “At no time throughout this process, have I ever shared any proprietary source information with [team members,] nor have I ever divulged, when we got to the conclusion, who the awardee was,” Mr. Deasy said.

The JEDI contract — which could last up to 10 years and ultimately be worth $10 billion over the life of the deal — will cover the storage and processing of huge amounts of classified Pentagon data, and Microsoft will now be linked in an unprecedented high-tech partnership with the U.S. military.

“JEDI is a unique capability that allows us to move between classification and put information out to the tactical edge,” Mr. Deasy said. “But it’s not going to be nor is it our only cloud today.”

Ben Wolfgang contributed to this report.

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