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Amazon reportedly in bed with the CIA for cloud computing plans

Of course, spies could always get their hands on the CIA's data the old-fashioned way, which Hugos describes as getting the agent with the password drunk and getting him or her to spill the beans. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Amazon reportedly has a new business partner: the Central Intelligence Agency.

Federal Computer Week is reporting that Amazon has inked a $600 million, 10-year deal with the CIA to create the agency's very own private cloud on which it can store data, software and other programs.

The CIA and Amazon won't confirm the deal and likely never will, but sources say the CIA is looking to cut its computing costs by using the know-how of Amazon Web Services, which is already the largest private cloud provider.

Information technology and cloud expert Michael Hugos said he's not sure what kind of customer the CIA will be, but landing this contract is a huge deal for the company.

"They have made their mark and their foundation with a zillion little customers like me who use their services every second of every day," he said. "The government is saying 'Hey, we have to cut back let's take a look at what these guys are doing.'"

Hugos believes if cloud computing is good enough for the CIA it's likely good enough for other government agencies looking to save money.

"I think it's a great idea that the government should start to leverage that technology instead of spending all this money trying to reproduce something that's already out there."

The big question is how secure with the Nation's Secrets be if they're floating around in the cloud?

Hugos doubts the most sensitive information the CIA has would be put in the cloud, but even if it were, he believes it would be safe. "It would take a CIA super-computer to break their own encryption if they lost the encryption key about six months," he said.

Of course, spies could always get their hands on the CIA's data the old-fashioned way, which Hugos describes as getting the agent with the password drunk and getting him or her to spill the beans.

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Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.

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