(MintPress) – The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reportedly has awarded a $600 million 10-year contract to Amazon.com, Inc. according to a new report released this week. The record contract will mark one of the only times the CIA has contracted a private company to create a secret online “cloud” for data storage. “In times of […]
(MintPress) – The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reportedly has awarded a $600 million 10-year contract to Amazon.com, Inc. according to a new report released this week. The record contract will mark one of the only times the CIA has contracted a private company to create a secret online “cloud” for data storage.
“In times of reducing budget situations you would expect to see agencies that haven’t considered cloud solutions extensively in the past would be looking more and more of doing something along those lines,” said Dave Powner, director of IT management issues at the Government Accountability Office in a recent statement.
After sequestration cuts go into effect later this year, intelligence agencies are expected to lose roughly 10 percent of their current operating budgets, a cut that will likely prompt increased government outsourcing to the private sector.
The CIA and Amazon have neither confirmed nor denied the reports. The CIA has offered a general comment to FCW, a business and technology publication, saying, “As a general rule, the CIA does not publicly disclose details of our contracts, the identities of our contractors, the contract values, or the scope of work.”
Many within the IT services industry believe that the CIA has hinted at a possible deal with Amazon on at least two occasions. During a March 12 speech by CIA Chief Information Officer Jeanne Tisinger, audience members recall Tisinger saying that the CIA was “working with companies like Amazon.”
On another occasion, CIA Chief Technology Officer Gus Hunt told Reuters in an interview that when it came to the government acquiring “metered” cloud services that it should turn to the private sector. He said, “Think Amazon – that model really works.”
The possible contract is concerning for civil liberties advocates who worry that information sharing between the CIA and Amazon could give the U.S. government new data on the millions of purchases and sales made online by citizens.
Founded in 1994, Amazon has grown to become one of the world’s largest online retailers, earning $61.09 billion in 2012. The company also offers cloud services that are a collection of remote computing services that make up a cloud computing platform.
The cloud is advertised as a service providing large online data storage that would give clients access to many servers and quicker data processing. Large enterprises, including Fortune 1000 companies, deploy workloads to Amazon’s cloud service, including Google.