(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama says Sony made a "mistake" in canceling its planned release of the movie The Interview following a destructive cyber attack the U.S. government says was launched by North Korea.
"Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against its employees. I’m sympathetic to the concerns that they faced," Obama said. "Having said all that, yes I think they made a mistake."
"We cannot have a society where some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the U.S.," Obama said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The FBI formally fingered North Korea as being responsible for the attack, which successfully forced Sony to cancel its planned release of The Interview, which depicts the fictional assassination of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The FBI said the Sony attack was unprecedented given its "destructive" and "coercive" nature, saying it disabled "thousands" of Sony's computers and "significantly disrupted the company's business operations."
The White House has declared the Sony hacking case a “serious national security matter" but has been trying to walk a fine line with its reaction. Administration officials say they are acutely aware that a public act of retribution could further give the hackers and the North Korean regime the kind of attention they seek. Some U.S. actions, they suggest, could be covert.
“I don't anticipate that we'll be in a position where we're gonna be able to be completely forthcoming about every single element of the response that has been decided upon,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday.
"North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves. Such acts of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior," the FBI said.
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