President Obama on Sunday said that he would have stepped in and “called the movie chains” if only Sony had let him know it had been hacked and threatened.
“I was pretty sympathetic to the fact that they have business considerations that they got to make. Had they talked to me directly about this decision, I might have called the movie theater chains and distributors and asked them what the story was,” he said in interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday’s State of the Union.
While the FBI pegs North Korea with the blame for the hacking of Sony Entertainment, many other signs point to an inside job. Still, Obama said he understood the dilemma Sony face, but also said it sets a bad precedent.
“If we set a precedent in which a dictator in another country can disrupt through cyber, a company’s distribution chain or its products, and as a consequence we start censoring ourselves, that’s a problem,” Obama said.
“And it’s a problem not just for the entertainment industry, it’s a problem for the news industry,” he said. “CNN has done critical stories about North Korea. What happens if in fact there is a breach in CNN’s cyberspace? Are we going to suddenly say, are we not going to report on North Korea?
“So the key here is not to suggest that Sony was a bad actor. It’s making a broader point that all of us have to adapt to the possibility of cyber attacks, we have to do a lot more to guard against them.”
Then, like a frustrated school marm, he ordered all Americans to remember his important lesson.
The Boston Marathon suffered an actual grievous attack that killed and maimed a number of people. And that next year, we had a successful Boston Marathon as we’ve ever had. You know, sometimes this is a matter of setting a tone and being very clear that we’re not going to be intimidated by some, you know, cyber hackers. And I expect all of us to remember that and operate on that basis going forward.