Rand Corporation senior defense analyst Bruce Bennett, who says he was asked by Sony chief Michael Lynton to look at The Interview, said today the depiction of Kim Jong Un in the movie would have harmed the North Korean leader once the “elite” in his country got hold of the DVD and began sharing it. That’s why North Korea hacked Sony, he speculated.
A proportional response, to North Korea’s cyber attack on Sony, Bennett said, referencing President Obama’s comments this morning at his end-of-year news conference, would be to make certain the movie got released on DVD, so copies could find their way into North Korea.
“I think it should be released,” Bennett told CNN this afternoon. “Once [Kim Jong Un’s] elites see it, it’s going to have some effect, and it’s not going to be good for him. I think that’s what, in the end, they were really trying to stop by stopping the release of the film.”
“From a political perspective, Kim Jong Un’s point is internal politics. If we want to have a proportional response (to the hack and threats against theater-goers) we have to respond with internal politics.”
Rand’s website describes Bennett as “an expert in Northeast Asian military issues, having visited the region some 90 times and written much about Korean security issues.”
Bennett says Sony chief Michael Lynton sits on the Rand board of trustees and asked him, as a favor, to look at the movie. “I told him I thought it was coarse, that it was over the top in some areas, but that I thought the depiction of Kim Jong Un was a picture that needed to get into North Korea. There are a lot of people in prison camps in North Korea who need to take advantage of a change of thinking in the north.”
Bennett told Blitzer if the DVD gets into the country, it will have an effect “over time.”
“It’s not going to change things immediately, but the elite in North Korea aren’t happy with Kim Jong Un,” Bennett explained. “He’s purging people right and left, in far extreme of what his father did. He’s inducing instability in the country…You never know what’s going to change things.”
According to Bennett, the death of North Korea’s leader in the movie is not an “assassination,” as it’s been described in the press – it’s an act of self-defense by the two journalists (played by James Franco and Seth Rogen) after they’ve embarrassed Un “severely in the international media and in front of the North Korean people. He therefore goes after them, to kill them,” Bennett revealed to CNN.