President Obama Says Sony ‘Made a Mistake’ by Caving In to North Korea’s Hacking Attack, Vows U. S. Will Respond

Dec. 17: 2014: President Obama speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.

President Obama said Friday he thinks Sony “made a mistake” in choosing not to release “The Interview” in the wake of the devastating hacking attack which he blamed on North Korea, while vowing that the U.S. “will respond.”

The president addressed the breach, at a year-end press conference, for the first time since Sony Pictures Entertainment canceled its high-profile movie release. He also spoke shortly after the FBI formally blamed Kim Jong Un’s regime for the breach.

“We will respond,” Obama vowed, while offering no details on what that response might entail.

He mocked the North Korean regime for launching an “all-out assault” over a satirical movie, but he also chided Sony for responding by shutting down the movie’s release.

“I think they made a mistake,” Obama said.

While saying he sympathizes with their situation and the concerns they faced, he said: “We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States.”

Obama said that if somebody can “intimidate” a company out of releasing a satirical movie — in this case, one about a plot to execute North Korea’s leader, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco — “imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary they don’t like or news reports they don’t like.”

Obama warned against “self-censorship,” adding: “That’s not who we are.”

The president was holding his last major press conference of the year following a whirlwind of major developments affecting U.S. security, diplomatic and economic interests.

Aside from the developments with the Sony cyber-attack, earlier in the week, Obama announced a push to normalize relations with Cuba following the release of American Alan Gross from Cuban custody after five years.

After taking questions from reporters, Obama and his family will leave for their annual holiday vacation in Hawaii. He’s due back in Washington in early January.

The president faces big obstacles on Capitol Hill next year, when Republicans will take over the Senate and return with a bigger majority in the House. Foreign policy problems also persist in the Middle East and between Russia and Ukraine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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