The Slatest

Obama Authorizes New Sanctions on North Korea for Alleged Role in Sony Hack

A North Korean soldier in the Demilitarized Zone.

Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama authorized additional economic sanctions against North Korea on Friday in retaliation for the country’s apparent role in the cyberattack on Sony Pictures. In addition to targeting the North Korean government and ruling party, the sanctions take aim at three organizations considered to be instruments of the North Korean government, as well as 10 government officials. Obama’s executive order says it seeks to hold North Korea accountable for “destructive and repressive actions, particularly its efforts to undermine U.S. cyber-security and intimidate U.S. businesses and artists exercising their right of freedom of speech.”

Administration officials described the sanctions as a “proportional response” to the New York Times, however, “White House officials said there was no evidence that the 10 officials took part in ordering or planning the Sony attack, although they described them as central to a number of provocative actions against the United States.” North Korea is already heavily sanctioned by the U.S. over its nuclear program, potentially making the sanctions less about exacting an economic price from the North Korean government, and more about affirming North Korea’s role in the Sony hack, a link which has recently been questioned by cybersecurity experts.