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Dossier Focus Of Smear Campaign Against AWS In Its JEDI Cloud Bid: Report

Bloomberg reports a dossier has been floating around Washington, D.C. for much of this year, outlining a case that AWS and its military allies corrupted the procurement process for the looming $10 billion Pentagon cloud computing contract.

For those who thought the JEDI battle couldn't get uglier, Bloomberg reported Thursday of the existence of a dossier looking to smear AWS execs and U.S. military officials to undermine the cloud leader's efforts to win the Pentagon's multi-billion-dollar cloud computing contract.

The dossier, according to the Bloomberg article, was part of a "dirty-tricks campaigns" to deny the award to Amazon Web Services, perceived as the likely choice of military leaders for the looming JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) contract which has sparked some of the most bitter infighting the tech industry has seen in years.

The article reports no evidence has surfaced that AWS' primary JEDI rivals—Oracle, IBM and Microsoft—are behind the document, which was shopped around the nation's capital by a private intelligence firm called RosettiStarr.

[Related: AWS Joins DoD As Defendant In Oracle's Lawsuit Challenging JEDI Bids]  

AWS declined to comment to CRN.

The 33-page document offers a number of unsupported insinuations based on established facts--some are highly personal in nature and tenuous at best.

But the main thrust is that Department of Defense officials skirted the proper procurement practices to help Amazon win the coveted engagement with the military.

The document includes "photos, charts and public records" to outline its case that conflicts of interest have corrupted the integrity of the bidding process, according to Bloomberg.

Its primary focus is on Sally Donnelly, formerly a senior advisor to Secretary of Defense James Mattis (who announced his resignation from the Trump administration Thursday.)

Donnelly, who before taking that government position sold a national security consultancy called SBD Advisors which had AWS as a client, looked to craft the JEDI RFP to favor Amazon during her stint advising Mattis throughout 2017 and into the start of this year, the dossier alleges.

Donnelly's lawyer told Bloomberg she had no role in shaping the contours of the JEDI bidding process.

And there was no evidence that she ever sought the waiver that would have been required for her to work in any way on the project.

The report of the dossier comes the week AWS voluntarily joined the DoD as a defendant in Oracle's lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the JEDI bidding process.

The dossier has apparently been in circulation for much of the year.

Price Floyd, a former Pentagon spokesman who worked on behalf of Amazon at Donnelly's firm, told Bloomberg he had been fielding questions about the secretive document since the spring. Floyd suggested that Oracle was the most-likely AWS competitor behind the questionable research and subsequent smear campaign.

Oracle declined CRN's request for a comment on the Bloomberg report.

The dossier's claims lose steam in light of a GAO evaluation, and subsequent rejection, of Oracle's formal protest of improper procurement. The GAO also later rejected a similar protest from IBM, citing in that matter Oracle's lawsuit challenging the JEDI procurement process in federal court.

But the document does draw attention to several facts that have raised legitimate questions about the RFP process.

One event that has fueled suggestions of impropriety is a trip Mattis took to Seattle while Donnelly worked for him, where he met with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at Amazon's headquarters in Seattle.

That visit came three months before the Pentagon announced the award would go to a single vendor, which riled many in the industry, including a prominent trade consortium.

The dossier also strays into accusations of improper personal relationships, shady business dealings, imposters posing as potential SBD clients, and claims of sexual harassment against people on both sides of the dispute.

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