The Obama administration imposed a wave of new sanctions against members of the North Korean government, the first official response the U.S. government has made to the cyberattack against Sony that was blamed on North Korea.
Despite questions from some private security analysts over whether North Korea was responsible for the Sony hack, as the FBI has said, the White House called the new sanctions retaliation, according to Fox News.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Josh Earnest” author_title=”White House Press Secretary”]
We take seriously North Korea’s attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a U.S. company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression. As the president has said, our response to North Korea’s attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment will be proportional.
President Obama signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against officials and agencies associated with the Workers’ Party of Korea and the North Korean government, citing the country’s “provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies.”
The sanctions would deny three government-tied entities and 10 North Korean officials access to the U.S. financial system and prevent them from entering the United States. Among those named in the sanctions are The Reconnaissance General Bureau, the country’s intelligence organization; Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, the country’s primary arms dealer; and the Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, which supports the nation’s defense research, according to the BBC.
Pyongyang has been sanctioned by the U.S. since the 1950s, including measures that have been tightened after North Korea’s three nuclear weapons tests.
A group calling itself Guardians of Peace leaked data stolen from Sony, including personal information and emails. The group threatened theaters planning to screen “The Interview,” a satirical movie about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. References to the 9/11 terror attacks prompted the cancellation of the movie’s nationwide release, according to Reuters.