Levin urges Obama to discuss cyber theft during China talks

Levin's message shows Congress is putting pressure on Obama to urge his Chinese counterpart to clamp down on hacker attacks that stem within the country.

President Obama will raise the issue of cybersecurity with the Chinese president during next week's meeting, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday. Carney called cybersecurity "a key priority" for the administration.

Levin's bill, the Deter Cyber Theft Act, would require the president to block imports of goods that benefit from stolen American intellectual property or technology into the U.S. if he deems such action necessary. Additionally, the bill would also require the Director of National Intelligence to craft a priority watch list of foreign countries that wage economic or industrial espionage against the U.S.

Levin introduced the bill earlier this month with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

The Armed Services Chairman's letter comes a day after The Washington Post reported that Chinese hackers have compromised the designs for more than two dozen critical U.S. weapons systems. The Post cited information culled from a confidential Defense Science Board report prepared for the Pentagon.

The report is just the latest one to come to light this year about Chinese hackers breaching sensitive U.S. computer systems.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon directly accused the Chinese military and government of cracking into U.S. government computer systems.

The private sector has been affected as well. Computer security firm Mandiant released a report in February alleging that an elite unit of Chinese military hackers have compromised the computer systems of more than 100 American companies.