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Pentagon IG: No proof White House interfered in $10B Microsoft contract

A federal judge had ordered the Pentagon to halt work on the 10-year contract over suspicions that President Donald Trump improperly interfered in the bidding process. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
A federal judge had ordered the Pentagon to halt work on the 10-year contract over suspicions that President Donald Trump improperly interfered in the bidding process. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

April 15 (UPI) -- A $10 billion JEDI cloud contract the Department of Defense awarded to Microsoft doesn't appear to have been improperly influenced by the White House, a Pentagon watchdog said Wednesday.

The Defense Department Office of the Inspector General said, though, the White House didn't give full cooperation to its investigation, so the review into accusations of ethical misconduct isn't 100 percent complete.

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The Pentagon praised the report's findings.

"This report should finally close the door on corporate-driven attacks on the career procurement officials who have been working tirelessly to get the much needed JEDI cloud computing environment into the hands of our frontline warfighter while continuing to protect American taxpayers," a Pentagon statement said.

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The report concluded that the awarding of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud computing network contract to a single company -- Microsoft -- should stand. It's meant to create a large, centralized, secure network for the military and upgrade computer technology, which in some cases dates back to the 1980s and '90s.

The watchdog report said White House counsel only responded to certain questions in writing. The inspector general said its office decided not to question the White House in this manner because there was no assurance which questions would be answered, nor would it allow for followup questions.

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"However, we believe the evidence we received showed that the DoD personnel who evaluated the contract proposals and awarded Microsoft the JEDI cloud contract were not pressured regarding their decision on the award of the contract by any DoD leaders more senior to them, who may have communicated with the White House," the report said.

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A federal judge in February ordered the Pentagon to halt work on the 10-year contract over suspicions that President Donald Trump improperly interfered in the bidding process. Microsoft beat Amazon, IBM, Oracle and Google during the selection process.

Amazon sued the Defense Department in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, arguing that the president's involvement skewed the playing field in Microsoft's favor, and said there were numerous errors in the Pentagon's process of weighing bids between the two.

Microsoft said Amazon sued the Department of Defense because it wants a "do-over" on the bidding process.

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"At this stage, Amazon is both delaying critical work for the nation's military and trying to undo the mistake it made when it bid too high a price," Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said.

Christen McCurdy contributed to this report

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