WASHINGTON — President Obama, during a press conference, refused to explicitly say whether he is considering military action in response to North Korea’s damaging cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.
When asked if he would rule out military action against North Korea, Obama said he will consider a “range of options” and make a decision that is “proportional and appropriate to the nature of this crime.”
The president did not describe any of the options being weighed.
“We’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose. It’s not something that I will announce here today at a press conference,” declared Obama.
The president confirmed that North Korea was behind the hacking of Sony.
“They caused a lot of damage and we will respond,” he told reporters.
Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters that the Defense Department has been involved in the government discussions dealing with the cyber assault against Sony.
“We are part of the interagency discussion about the incident and about options that may available,” he told reporters.
Kirby said he could not specify “what would be and wouldn’t be an act of war in the Cyber domain.”
“It’s not like there’s a demarcation line that exists on some sort of fixed base on what is or isn’t,” he added.
Breitbart News reported that the White House and the Pentagon have determined that a cyberattack from a foreign country against the United States could constitute an act of war.
Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, has referred to the Sony hacking as a “serious national security matter.”
Prompted by threats from the hackers, Sony cancelled the Christmas Day release of The Interview, an American comedy depicting the satirical assassination of North Korea’s president.
Hackers, confirmed to be working with the government of North Korea, threatened to attack U.S. cinemas showing the film.
North Korea has denied any involvement in the cyberattack.
Nevertheless, the communist country warned that releasing The Interview, would amount to an “act of war.”
America will face “stern” and “merciless” retaliation if the U.S. government does not block the movie’s release, an unidentified spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in state media, The Associated Press reported.
Sony hackers stole unreleased movies, company emails, employee social security numbers, and salary details.