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North Korea calls Sony hack claims ‘groundless slander,’ wants investigation

The fallout from the devastating Sony Pictures hack continues to rumble on through the weekend. On Friday the FBI pointed the finger specifically at North Korea as being behind the attack, something the North Korean authorities have vehemently denied. As Reuters reports, government officials have described the claims as “groundless slander,” suggesting that the U.S. and North Korea launch a joint investigation into the incident.

That’s something that the White House is unlikely to consider, and Mark Stroh, a spokesman for the National Security Council, had this to say yesterday: “The government of North Korea has a long history of denying responsibility for destructive and provocative actions. If the North Korean government wants to help, they can admit their culpability and compensate Sony for the damages this attack caused.”

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The war of words continued through Sunday as CNN broadcast an interview with President Obama. He described the hacking as a costly and serious incident of “cyber vandalism” though he stopped short of calling it an act of war. “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 cyberattacks, we have to do a lot more to guard against them,” said Obama.

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton has also weighed in on the issue via the same channel, telling CNN that “the President, the press and the public are mistaken as to what actually happened. We do not own movie theaters. We cannot determine whether or not a movie will be played in movie theaters.” Further statements from Sony suggest the company is still looking at ways in which the film can be released.

It’s likely that the war of words and threats of retaliation are going to continue for some time yet. “If the U.S. refuses to accept our proposal for a joint investigation and continues to talk about some kind of response by dragging us into the case, it must remember there will be grave consequences,” a North Korean spokesman told Reuters.