North Korea Blasts U.S. Sanctions Over ‘The Interview’

A North Korean government spokesman today accused the U.S. government of “groundlessly” stirring up hostilities when it sanctioned 10 officials and three organizations Friday in retaliation for the devastating November cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“The policy persistently pursued by the U.S. to stifle the DPRK, groundlessly stirring up bad blood toward it, would only harden its will and resolution to defend the sovereignty of the country,” the anonymous spokesman told the North Korean government’s official Korean Central News Agency. DPRK is the acronym for North Korea’s official name.

The sanctions, the first imposed by the U.S. government on a foreign government for cyber attacks on a U.S.-based company, were announced Friday by President Obama. They affected 10 officials in various parts of the North Korean defense, intelligence and technology establishment, along with three organizations.

The FBI has said repeatedly that it believes the cyber attack on Sony, which ransacked its computer systems of an estimated 100 terabytes of sensitive corporate data, was ordered by North Korean officials because of their anger over The Interview, a comedy feature starring Seth Rogen and James Franco about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korea’s autocratic ruler, Kim Jong-un.

Independent investigators have suggested that a disgruntled former insider and an anonymous hacker group called Lizard Squad may have at least contributed to the attacks. North Korea has denied have a role in the attacks, while praising those who carried them out. More recently, North Korea blamed the United States for the attack and called Obama racial slurs.

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