As the WikiLeaked U.S. State Department cables show, U.S. President Barack Obama's administration wanted to maintain a strong relationship with Mubarak. "The tangible benefits to our [military-to-military] relationship are clear," one cable read. "Egypt remains at peace with Israel, and the U.S. military enjoys priority access to the Suez Canal and Egyptian airspace." When a reporter described Mubarak as "authoritarian" in a 2009 interview with Obama, the U.S. president objected: "He has been a stalwart ally in many respects, to the United States. ... I think he has been a force for stability." Obama did allow, however, that "obviously, there have been criticisms of the manner in which politics operates in Egypt." After speaking with the embattled Mubarak on Jan. 28, three days after the protests began, Obama said he had told Mubarak he must respond to the crisis with "concrete steps and actions that deliver."