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North Korea has no sense of humor, U.S. spy chief says after watching 'The Interview'

"Cyber is a powerful new realm for [North Korea] where they believe they can exert maximum influence at minimum cost," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday, before adding "we have to push back."

By JC Finley
North Korea has no sense of humor, U.S. spy chief says after watching 'The Interview'
James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, pictured in October 2013. UPI/Pete Marovich | License Photo

NEW YORK, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that after watching the film The Interview over the weekend, he concluded "North Koreans don't have a sense of humor."

Speaking at a Fordham Law School event on Wednesday, the intelligence chief blamed North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau on the cyber attack against Sony Pictures, which the U.S. government believes was launched in response to Sony's planned release of The Interview.

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In December, the hackers released embarrassing private emails between Sony Pictures chair Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin and threatened the company with terror attacks if it didn't halt the release of The Interview, a satirical comedy about a fictional assassination attempt against Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.

U.S. President Barack Obama criticized Sony Pictures in December for giving in to the hackers' threats after the studio cancelled the release of The Interview. "We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States."

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"Cyber is a powerful new realm for them where they believe they can exert maximum influence at minimum cost," Clapper said Wednesday. "If they get global recognition at a low cost and no consequence, they will do it again and keep doing it again until we push back."

It is unclear what additional steps Clapper believes should be taken.

On Jan. 2, Obama announced additional sanctions against North Korea in response to the cyber attack.

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