According to The New York Times, American intelligence officials have concluded that the North Korean government was "centrally involved" in the Sony hacking. As previously reported, the hackers, who consider themselves the "Guardians of Peace," threatened a 9/11-like attack on movie theaters that screen Seth Rogen and James Franco's movie The Interview, which revolves around the attempted assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The report comes after Sony decided to pull the comedy's theatrical release date, as well as the movie's upcoming New York City premiere and all scheduled press.
According to the Times, officials said it was not clear how the White House will decide to respond to North Korea: "Some within the Obama administration argue that the government of Mr. Kim must be directly confronted, but that raises the question of what consequences the administration would threaten — or how much of its evidence it could make public without revealing details of how the United States was able to penetrate North Korean computer networks to trace the source of the hacking." The Times also reports, "It is not clear how the United States came to its determination that the North Korean regime played a central role in the Sony attacks."
As previously reported, the hackers threat issued on Tuesday, Dec. 16 read: "Warning. We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places 'The Interview' be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001.We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY."
Following the alarming warning, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement addressing the threat. "DHS is aware of a threat made online targeting movie theaters in the United States," the statement read. "We are still analyzing the credibility of these statements, but at this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States."
Back in June, North Korea called on the U.S. government to block the film's release or face a "decisive and merciless countermeasure." North Korean officials, however, denied having any involvement in the hack.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on Youtube!