Tech giants have made billions in profit through contracts with the US military and other government agencies during the so-called “War on Terror,” according to a report released on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The report “Big Tech Sells War,” published last Thursday by 3 American campaigning groups, documented the stipulation of a huge number of government contracts with Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter since 2004.
The report said tech companies’ contracts were “primarily with agencies central to the War on Terror.”
The report added that “From 2004 to today, Big Tech corporations have seen a huge climb in federal demand for their services, particularly from the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security.”
The US military and intelligence agencies’ demand for cloud computing and GPS software has risen since 2001 as the defense sector has grown increasingly digitized.
The US Department of Defense alone has spent about $43.9 billion on contracts for major technology companies since 2004, according to the report, which was issued as a result of a collaboration between the Action Center on Race and the Economy and social justice groups LittleSis and MPower Change.
The report noted that 4 of the top 5 spending agencies on contracts with big tech companies were “central to foreign policy or established as a direct result of the War on Terror.”
The report also confirmed that Amazon and Microsoft, in particular, pulled ahead in recent years, with Amazon signing nearly five times and Microsoft signing eight times as many federal contracts and subcontracts in 2019 compared to 2015.
The report stressed that “Microsoft has benefited from the increase in the number of defense contracts significantly under former President Donald Trump, with those signed between 2016 and 2018 increasing sixfold.”
Meanwhile, the number of contracts signed with “traditional” military and defense contractors such as aerospace companies Raytheon and Northrop Grumman has declined in recent years.
The report pulled its data from Tech Inquiry, an online tool that allows users to explore US government contracts.
The report stated that the platform includes only contracts in which the information contained in it is allowed to be shared publicly, which means that the numbers received are “very likely an underrepresentation.””
The report also criticized the groups that created the “revolving door” phenomenon between major technology companies and US security agencies, in which government officials who were in high official positions assume key roles in technology companies.
According to the report, officials with top positions include former State Department official Jared Cohen, who is now working for Google, for example, and Steve Bandilidis at Amazon who worked for the FBI, and Joseph de Rosick at Microsoft, who was one of the founders of the Department of Homeland Security.