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Google defended itself in front of lawmakers Thursday and explained why it could continue to bid on major military contracts even though its contracts with the federal government prohibit it from dealing with the Pentagon and other federal agencies while at the same time it is taking part in a top-secret Pentagon solicitation for artificial intelligence software.

The company’s top two executives met with the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Google is taking part in an initial round of a Defense Department program aimed at helping create a resilient energy grid in the case of a future energy crisis. The company’s artificial intelligence software will be used in developing those systems, but without a federal contract, it’s not allowed to work with the military.

But after the meeting, Google spokesman Matthew Axelson said: “We’re talking to the Pentagon about how we can apply machine learning to the development of new solutions for the power sector. This applies to both the National Military Command Center and the Department of Defense’s Digital Enterprise.”

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