On today’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd discussed North Korea’s hack attack against Sony with Sony Pictures Entertainment lawyer David Boies, actor (and former White House staffer) Kal Penn, former director of The National Counterterrorism Center Michael Leiter, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and former ambassador to South Korea Christopher Hill.
Boies said The Interview, the Sony comedy that apparently is at the heart of the cyber attack on Sony, will get distributed, at some point, in some fashion, and he brushed off what to call the perpetrators of the attack. And while Boies welcomed Obama’s official declaration that North Korea was the source of the attack, he took issue with some aspects of the president’s comments that he said seemed to blame Boies’ client for causing the attack.
Here’s a partial transcript of Boies’ comments:
DAVID BOIES: I think we ought to move beyond who was responsible. Look, this is a state-sponsored criminal attack on an American corporation and its employees … I think that what we have to do is use the President’s recognition of the importance of this issue as a rallying cry, so that all Americans can unite against what is really a threat to our national security. If state-sponsored criminal acts like this can be directed against Sony, it can be directed against anybody.
CHUCK TODD: You’re using “criminal acts” instead of “terrorist.” Does Sony, do you believe that if you get a legal ruling that this was terrorism, you get some financial cover on this. Are you looking for that kind of ruling?
DAVID BOIES: I’m not debating whether it ought to be called “criminal,” “vandalism,” “terrorism.” What we know is that that was a state-sponsored attack on the privacy of an American corporation and its employees. And what Sony had been trying to do is trying to protect that privacy, trying to get back what was stolen, and asking everybody to cooperate in that, not to aid and abet. Whether you call them vandals or criminals or terrorists, whatever you call them, they’re bad actors. And people shouldn’t be cooperating with them.
DAVID BOIES: Sony only delayed this (film’s release). Sony has been fighting to get this picture distributed. It will be distributed. How it’s going to be distributed, I don’t think anybody knows quite yet. But it’s going to be distributed. And what Sony has been trying to do is to get the picture out to the public. But, at the same time, be sure that the rights of its employees and the rights of the movie-going public are protected.
DAVID BOIES: I think we’ve got to recognize that this is not a Sony security problem, this is a national security problem. And the government has got to lead. The F.B.I. has just been terrific in this. … Now the rest of the government has got to get behind it and has got to figure out a way that we can protect our national security. Because this is a national-security threat. I think the president is beginning to recognize that. And I think that’s a good thing. But now we’ve got to have some actions following from the words.
CHUCK TODD: You think the President’s comments were helpful on Friday to you?
DAVID BOIES: I think they were helpful in some respects. I think it was helpful to have the president recognize publicly that this was an unacceptable attack, that we cannot have state-sponsored attacks that are designed to censor what we do here in this country. I would have liked to have seen it a little earlier. And I would have liked to have seen it without the sort of “blame the victim” aspect of it. But I think the positive aspects of it, where I think we are now beginning to come together as a country and recognize this is a threat, I think that’s positive.