President Obama Says Sony Hack is an "Act of Cyber Vandalism" — And No, We're Not Going to War

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill on January 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. In his fifth State of the Union address, Obama is expected to emphasize on healthcare, economic fairness and new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy with bipartisan cooperation. (Photo by Larry Downing-Pool/Getty Images)
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We already know what the President thinks about Sony pulling The Interview from theaters. In a press conference Friday, Obama said Sony's decision was "a mistake," and he wished the company spoke to him before giving in to terrorist-like threats. While the FBA found the hack came from North Korea, North Korea claims its innocence and says they weren't involved. Although the details are still uncertain, Obama further commented on the Sony hacks in an interview on Sunday with CNN's Candy Crowley. The President said:

If we set a precedent in which a dictator in another country can disrupt through cyber, a company’s distribution chain or its products, and as a consequence we start censoring ourselves, that’s a problem.

Instead of classifying this as an act of war by North Koreea, Obama says it's "cyber vandalism." He continued by explaining, the act "was very costly, very expensive. We take it very seriously. We will respond proportionally." He also drew a connection to the Boston Marathon and how despite the horrific bombing in 2013, the marathon carried on successfully the following year.

The Boston Marathon suffered an actual grievous attack that killed and maimed a number of people and that next year we had as successful a Boston Marathon as we’ve ever had. Sometimes this is a matter of setting a tone and being very clear that we’re not going to be intimidated by some cyber hackers. I expect all of us to remember that and operate on that basis going forward.

Through this comparison, the President raises a valid point. Everyday events shouldn't be halted because of alleged online threats. The government does take such situations seriously, but censoring the media isn't necessarily the right way to handle them.

As for the other side, Sony CEO Michael Lynton commented on the situation in a CNN interview on Friday, saying,

We have not caved. We have not given in. We have persevered. Let us be clear — the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it.

In fact, Sony hopes the public will get to see the movie in some capacity someday. Although there are no plans yet, I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens to The Interview. In the meantime, I doubt this story is going anywhere.

Image: Getty Images

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