Technology companies Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter, made more than $44 billion in contracts with the US government in the “war on terror” after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Three action groups are behind the report, Action Center on Race and the Economy, MPower Change and LittleSis.
They describe how more and more US agencies and ministries have come to trust the tech giants over the past 15 years. “Between 2004 and today, the Big Tech has seen an increase in demand for their services, especially from the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security,” said one of the report’s authors. Significantly Amazon and Microsoft could benefit from this.
Amazon nearly quadrupled the number of contracts and subcontracts in 2019, and Microsoft quadrupled it compared to 2015. Microsoft’s military contracts increased nearly sixfold between 2016 and 2018, with the company benefiting mainly from the goodwill of the Trump administration, the report said. Some 86 percent of the contracts and subcontracts Amazon has signed with the government since 2004 have been with agencies central to the war on terror.
Google and, to a lesser extent, Twitter are also mentioned for their ties to defence. Since 2004, the Pentagon has spent the most on the services of tech giants, at $43.8 billion. Next comes the Department of Homeland Security ($348 million), the State Department ($258 million), the General Services Administration ($244 million) and the Department of Justice ($138 million), the report said.
The report’s authors collected the data through the Tech Inquiry website. However, they suspect that the total amounts are much higher as not all contracts are made public. Another phenomenon described in the report is the “revolving door” with senior government officials pouring in and out of leadership positions in Big Tech companies.
The report mentions Jared Cohen, a former State Department official turned director of Google, and Steve Pandelides, a former FBI official who is now chief of security at an Amazon division.