Mitchell Reports | July 27, 2012
>>> just moments ago, president obama signed a law approving more military aid to israel .
>> as many of you know, i have made it a top priority for my administration to deepen cooperation across the whole spectrum of security issues.
>> interesting timing. is he trying to upstage mitt romney 's trip to israel tomorrow? joining me now is connecticut independent senator, joe lieberman . senator, you have seen a lot of things. there haven't been too many public bill signings in this administration and it was passed earlier in the week, five days later a public signing in the oval office . coincidence?
>> purely coincidental, i'm sure.
>> no, there have been public signings pretty regularly, but this is a coincidence of timing but i'm sure it's one that doesn't displease the white house because it does allow the president to say what he did, which i think is true, which is that there has been in the last few years, notwithstanding the political or diplomatic disagreements between israel and the u.s., very strong military and intelligence cooperation and this legislation i think is part of that.
>> i want to ask you about your cybersecurity bill which passed a very important procedural hurdle yesterday but first, with mitt romney going to israel and sheldon adelson suggesting he's going to be there and he's going to raise a lot of money to try to drum up support, get the jewish vote for romney against president obama , do you think it's a problem that president obama has not been to israel in his first term?
>> well, i think it does bother some people who are pro- israel , not just jewish people who are pro- israel but a lot of non-jews, christians particularly, of course, who are as well. but president obama 's not the first president not to visit israel in his first four years. if there's a problem in the pro- israel community in the u.s. toward the president, it's about some of the policies such as the call for the freeze in building in jerusalem bank and the reference to the borders. that will all be debated in the campaign and people will make their judgment.
>> i want to ask you about the cybersecurity legislation, because this is a compromise bill. the white house now supports it. the chamber of commerce was critical of it, saying it's too -- imposes too many regulatory burdens on the business community and on the other side, people say it doesn't do enough. is this sort of goldilocks, a bill that's just right or are you satisfying no one and not really improving american security?
>> the good news on yesterday's vote to proceed to debate, our cybersecurity legislation was really overwhelming. i was thrilled with it. 84 in favor of proceeding. normally in past years, just going to a bill was thought to be automatic. a lot of stuff this year has been stopped before it even got to the floor. but we understand we have some work to do. we do have opponents on both sides, i think that means we've found a good sweet spot common ground. the point is that everybody acknowledges and i think that's why we got 84 votes yesterday. this is a real crisis. we're vulnerable. we are constantly under attack already. our enemies are putting in place the ability to attack us in a time of war even more seriously and billions and billions of dollars are being stolen every year, hundreds of billions, in fact, through cybertheft. so we got to raise our guard and that's what this bill tries to do. the big compromise we made, originally when there were regulations about what the private sector owners of critical infrastructure like electric utility grid, dams, water dams, financial systems, transportation, et cetera , that what they had to do, we mandated at some point that the government could tell them to do it, we didn't have enough votes to pass. i think it's the best way. so we've got everything else in place in our bill but now it's voluntary and we give them an incentive which is if they opt into the cybersecurity system, they get some significant immunity from liability if there is an attack.
>> senator joe lieberman , thank you very much. have a great