Amazon is the King Kong of online shopping sites. It’s also a giant in federal government contracting.
Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.
A few years back, Amazon got a $600 million contract to provide cloud-computing services to the CIA. Amazon wasn’t the lowest bidder. Not even close.
IBM, whose bid was about 35% lower, filed a protest. A GAO investigation found irregularities and ordered CIA to re-bid the contract.
Amazon filed suit against the government. A federal judge tossed the GAO investigation and ordered the Amazon–CIA deal to go forward.
Critics worry Amazon will share the personal information of its 162 million customers with the spy agency.
One can only speculate if Amazon canceling web-hosting services for WikiLeaks factored into CIA’s decision.
There’s more. Tucked into the draft National Defense Authorization Act was a paragraph known in Washington as the “Amazon Amendment.” The clause was thought to pave the way to name Amazon a sole source provider for $53 billion in annual government spending.
The final version of the bill called for a phased-in, competitive approach to creating a government online shopping portal.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for any big investigative expose by the Washington Post even though this is occurring right on its doorstep. The paper is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.