There is something strangely unconvincing about North Korea’s denial that it hacked Sony Pictures or threatened “9/11 style” attacks on theaters:
North Korea rejected the notion that it would attack “innocent moviegoers.”
“We will not tolerate the people who are willing to insult our supreme leader, but even when we retaliate, we will not conduct terror against innocent moviegoers,” KCNA said.
“The retaliation will target the ones who are responsible and the originators of the insults. Our army has the intention and ability to do (so).” [CNN]
“As the United States is spreading groundless allegations and slandering us, we propose a joint investigation with it into this incident,” the spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The spokesman also threatened “grave consequences” if the US continued to discuss retaliation against North Korea on this matter. [….]
Despite denying the attack, the North’s top military body the National Defence Commission has slammed Sony for “abetting a terrorist act while hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership”, according to KCNA. [AFP]
In contrast to this hyperbolic characterization, President Obama offers an oddly hypobolic one, calling North Korea’s actions “cyber vandalism.” I suppose we should be thankful that he didn’t attribute it to the “junior varsity” of North Korea’s hack squad, Unit 121. But if North Korea is also responsible for the threat to attack American movie theaters that Nakoulad two of the world’s largest movie studios into submission — and that’s how I read the FBI’s statement — we’re talking about something far worse than “vandalism.”
North Korea is also threatening a nuke test, in response to the full General Assembly’s passage of a resolution condemning it for crimes against humanity, and recommending a prosecution of responsible North Korean officials by the international criminal court.
“We will step up our efforts to strengthen self-defensive capability, including nuclear capability,” the North’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, arguing that the resolution was a U.S-led political scheme to find an excuse for a military invasion against it. [Yonhap]
President Bush removed North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism on October 11, 2008. The Obama Administration’s official view is that North Korea is “not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1987.” Discuss among yourselves.