Pentagon cloud contract sueball: Oh no, Oracle doesn't need those docs, AWS tells court

Urges it to chuck Big Red's request to depose former Pentagon staffers, too

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Oracle's lawsuit over the Pentagon's $10bn cloud contract is cherry-picked "spin", AWS has said in a submission (PDF) aiming to stop Big Red accessing internal documents and deposing two former government staffers.

Oracle is suing the US Department of Defense over its decision to hand the mega-cloud contract, Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), to a single vendor.

A second complaint made to the Federal Claims Court was that the government had "crafted" the request for proposals' "gate criteria" to limit the number of vendors that could compete.

Oracle also alleged that two former members of DoD staff – Deap Ubhi and Anthony DeMartino (see box) – with ties to AWS were involved in shaping the contract.

After this allegation, the cloudy arm of the 'everything store' intervened in the case, and in its latest submission, filed last week, called on the court to reject Oracle’s requests for additional materials.

As well as requesting access to eight categories of government materials – which AWS branded "virtually every single document in the entire JEDI cloud procurement" – Oracle aims to add more material about Ubhi and DeMartin to the record.

This includes a personal blog and a tweet from Ubhi that AWS said Oracle attempted to "spin" to show bias, and material it hopes to gather by serving third party discovery and conducting deposition on Ubhi and DeMartino.

But AWS said Oracle's motion is "replete with mischaracterizations and over-exaggerations of the roles that these two individuals played in the JEDI Cloud procurement".

It said Big Red had used information and documents gathered during its failed complaint to the Government Accountability Office to create a "self-serving narrative" based on "snippets of emails and informal Slack messages".

Moreover, AWS pointed out there were already official materials on the record as a result of the GAO protest. For instance, official justifications were published on the decision to hand the award to one vendor and on the choice of "gate criteria".

There are also records from the contracting officer that show she had identified possible bias in Ubhi and DeMartino but concluded that neither of their involvement had negatively impacted the work.

That officer said Ubhi's involvement had been limited to "market research activities" for less than seven weeks, after which point he recused himself; DeMartino's work was "ministerial and perfunctory… and [he] did not participate personally and substantially in the procurement".

"The Contracting Officer contemporaneously documented her no-conflicts assessment and has since vehemently defended Oracle's scattershot allegations," AWS said.

The firm added that, since Oracle doesn't dispute the administrative record contains these materials, nor allege that any of the decision-makers were biased, there was "no basis" for the record to be expanded.

"Oracle does not truly seek discovery to contest the rationality of the Agency's documented decisions, which are already in the administrative record," AWS's filing said.

Rather, AWS asserted that Oracle's intention was to launch its own discovery to support its "meritless allegations" about the former government officials.

"The court doesn't have to conduct its own sweeping de novo investigation at Oracle's behest and then impose an outcome on the agency," AWS said – but granting Oracle's broad requests would do just this.

The case continues. ®

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