LOS ANGELES — In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, President Obama called the cyber-attack on Sony “very serious” but suggested that the administration has yet to establish the hacker threat to moviegoers over “The Interview” as credible.
“For now, my recommendation would be that people go to the movies,” he said.
Sony has actually canceled plans to release “The Interview” in theaters on Dec. 25, after major chains decided not to show the movie. According to multiple news outlets, federal authorities have concluded that North Korea is linked to the attack.
“Well, the cyber-attack is very serious. We’re investigating, we’re taking it seriously,” Obama said in the interview with David Muir. “We’ll be vigilant: If we see something that we think is serious and credible, then we’ll alert the public.”
Mitt Romney, Obama’s opponent in the 2012 presidential election, wrote on Twitter: “@SonyPictures don’t cave, fight: release @TheInterview free online globally. Ask viewers for voluntary $5 contribution to fight #Ebola.”
Update: National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan issued this response, which does not directly cite North Korea but says that they are “considering a range of options in weighing a potential response.”
“The U.S. government closely monitors all reports of breaches affecting U.S. companies, U.S. consumers, and U.S. infrastructure. We know that criminals and foreign countries regularly seek to gain access to government and private sector networks – both in the United States and elsewhere.
“The U.S. government has offered Sony Pictures Entertainment support and assistance in response to the attack. The FBI has the lead for the investigation. The United States is investigating attribution and will provide an update at the appropriate time. The U.S. government is working tirelessly to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice, and we are considering a range of options in weighing a potential response.
“We are aware of Sony’s announcement regarding ”he Interview.’ The United States respects artists’ and entertainers’ right to produce and distribute content of their choosing. The U.S. government has no involvement in such decisions. We take very seriously any attempt to threaten or limit artists’ freedom of speech or of expression.”