North Korea threatens attack on White House as US mulls returning country to terror sponsor list
By RYAN GORMAN
North Korea is threatening attacks against the U.S. while adamantly denying it had anything to do with the cyber assault that nearly brought down an entire movie studio.
The threats come just as the Obama administration is considering putting the reclusive regime back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism in the wake of hackers infiltrating Sony Pictures, the president told CNN.
The North's fiery anti-American rhetoric has grown in recent days after the U.S. apparently rebuffed the hermit kingdom's proposal to work together to find the real hackers responsible for the infiltration of Sony Pictures.
Released Sunday, the statement threatens the "toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland," CNN is reporting.
"The cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the 'symmetric counteraction' declared by Obama."
It appears to have come from the Policy Department of the National Defence Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, one of many official government communications channels.
"The NDC of the #DPRK highly estimates the righteous action taken by the 'guardians of peace,' though it is not aware of their residence." The hackers have identified themselves as GOP.
The statement reasserts previous claims the communist country had nothing to do with the attack -- which appears to be in retaliation for "The Interview," a movie satirizing the murder of dictator Kim Jong Il -- despite an FBI investigation concluding the hackers were backed by the Kim regime.
"#DPRK has clear evidence that the U.S. administration was deeply involved in the making of such dishonest reactionary movie," reads the statement, according to the Voice of America.
"The #DPRK has already launched the toughest counteraction," it continues. "Our target is all the citadels of the U.S. imperialists who earned the bitterest grudge of all Koreans."
It further claims that "Whoever challenges justice by toeing the line of the biggest criminal U.S. will never be able to escape merciless punishment."
The threatening diatribe was released in English, implying the intended audience was not domestic.
Obama also repeated his earlier regret that Sony did not appeal directly to the federal government before canceling the release of the film, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco.
"You know, had they talked to me directly about this decision, I might have called the movie theater chains and distributors and asked them what that story was," Obama told the cable network.
"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, cyberhackers," Obama continued. "And I expect all of us to remember that and operate on that basis going forward."
Sony has repeatedly denied it caved to the hackers and instead claims the movie's release was shelved because no theaters were willing to run it.
The president is currently on vacation with his family in Hawaii but has previously said "all options are being considered" in terms of retaliation.
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