news Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | December 21, 2014 | 7:40 am IST

US President Barack Obama has said Sony Pictures Entertainment made a mistake in pulling the movie "The Interview" following a cyber attack even as North Korea denied the charge of being behind the attack.

The president spoke just hours after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced Friday that North Korea was responsible for the cyber attack on the studio, reports variety.com.

"Yes, I think they made a mistake," he said at a press conference, in response to a question about whether he agreed with Sony's decision.

"We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship in the United States, because if somebody is able to intimidate us out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing once they see a documentary that they don't like or news reports that they don't like. That's not who we are. That's not what America is about.

"We cannot start changing our patterns of behaviour any more than we stop going to a football game because there may be a possibility of a terrorist attack. I wish they (Sony) had spoken to me first. I would have told them do not get into a pattern in which you're intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks," he added.

The FBI announced Friday that it has concluded that North Korea was behind the attack on Sony Picture Entertainment's computer systems. The bureau cited malware linked to "other malware that the FBI knows North Korean hackers previously developed".

Obama said that the US would "respond, and respond proportionately... in a place and at a time of our choosing," but he declined to go into details. He said that the US had "no indication" that another country, such as China, was also involved.

"We just confirmed that it was North Korea. We have been considering a range of options which will be presented to me," he said, adding that he would make his decision based on what he perceives as what was a "proportional" response.

The attack was an apparent protest against the film "The Interview," a comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen that revolves around a US plot to kill the North Korean leader, the FBI statement said.

In June, a spokesman for Pyongyang called the film an "act of war".

A group calling itself Guardians of Peace Tuesday took responsibility for the Nov 24 cyberattack in which the hackers stole personal data about that company's employees, internal e-mails and up to five movies, EFE reported.

The Guardians of Peace said they would carry out terror attacks at cinemas that showed the film, prompting the theater chains to pull it from their lineups and leading Sony to cancel the film's release, scheduled for Dec 25.

North Korea, however, denied the charge of being involved in the attack and demanded that the US should include Pyongyang in a joint investigation into the case.

An anonymous spokesperson from North Korea's foreign ministry told official news agency KCNA that supreme leader Kim Jong-un's government can show "that it has nothing to do with the case" and warned of "grave consequences" if the US spurned its offer.

IANS

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