Following the Sony hack last November, purported to have been carried out by North Korea, President Obama and the United States have responded with massive new sanctions. The Dear Leader has continuously denied any involvement and even went so far as to blame the U.S for the attacks, as well as the recent Internet outages in the DPRK, while comparing President Obama to an ape in the process.
Examiner.com reports that President Obama signed an executive order imposing economic sanctions against multiple North Korean government agencies and top officials. The three main targets of the sanctions, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, are as follows:
- the Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is North Korea’s “main intelligence agency”
- the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, which according to the Treasury Department, is the country’s “main arms dealer”
- Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, an agency which “supports the country’s defense research and development”
According to a statement released by the Treasury Department on Friday, the sanctions demonstrate “the ongoing commitment of the United States to hold North Korea accountable for its destabilizing, destructive and repressive actions, particularly its efforts to undermine US cyber-security and intimidate US businesses and artists exercising their right of freedom of speech.”
They went on to add:
Even as the FBI continues its investigation into the cyber-attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, these steps underscore that we will employ a broad set of tools to defend US businesses and citizens, and to respond to attempts to undermine our values or threaten the national security of the United States.
The U.S states that these new sanctions will work with existing sanctions which were put into place in response to nuclear proliferation and “illicit financial activity,” yet this does not mean that these specific agencies were involved in the recent hack.
The White house further explained that though the sanctions only limit further commercial engagement with an extremely detached nation, they are important because this is the first time the U.S. has responded to cyber-attacks of this kind against an American company.
In a separate statement issued by the White House, President Obama declared:
We take seriously North Korea’s attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a US company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression.