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Sony Calls Hack a 'State-Sponsored Criminal Act'

On Meet the Press, a Sony representative said that the company has not received enough help in dealing with the aftermath of the North Korean hack.
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A lawyer for Sony Pictures said Sunday that the massive hacking of its computer systems represented a “state-sponsored criminal attack” and suggested that the company did not get enough help fighting back.

“If the NSA had invaded people’s privacy like this, people would have been outraged,” the lawyer, David Boies, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “North Korea does it, and couples it with physical threats, and people sort of sit back for three weeks while Sony fights this issue on its own.”

The FBI has blamed the North Korean government for the attack, which led Sony to cancel the Christmas Day release of “The Interview,” a comedy about a plot to kill the North Korean dictator. The hackers had threatened movie theaters that planned to show it.

Actor Kal Penn told Chuck Todd that he believed Sony set a dangerous precedent and could have showcased the movie elsewhere.

“I think it's sort of a tricky situation for Sony to say their hands were tied,” Penn said. “I don't think that's necessarily true.”

“Sony owns mechanisms like PlayStation that's been selling movies online for years,” Penn continued. “I mean, they could have put it on video-on-demand. When they pulled down their Facebook and Twitter pages, you know, that sort of shows me that they're not really backing the film.”

Boies said that the company still plans to distribute the movie once it figures out the best way to do it.

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said the United States should put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism. He added that the U.S. was not the only power with the ability to counter North Korea’s move.

“China has to press the North Koreans to stop this cyberterrorism,” Richardson said. “We've got to get rid of some of the North Korea hackers in China.“

Breitbart columnist John Nolte agreed that a stronger government stance was needed.

“I think that it's not up to Sony to fight North Korea. That's the government's job,” Nolte argued, disagreeing with those who have called for an Internet release of the movie. “I think they kept their product viable. I don't think it's a good precedent, if you're threatened by a foreign government, to squander an $80 million investment on Google or on You Tube.”

Michael Leiter, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said that the United States is fighting cyberwarfare, and that there is a shared responsibility to protect American companies.

“The rest of the U.S. corporations have the same vulnerabilities that Sony does,” Leiter said. “So we can't just look at the private sector. The private sector is going to have to re-architect.”

“The U.S. government is going to get much more involved in defending,” he said. “And then we will finally have the option of being more offensive.”

— Dale Armbruster