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Security

North Korea blames US for Net outage, calls Obama a 'monkey'

The state's ruling body points the finger at Washington for continued Internet disruptions amid its dispute with the US over the Sony hack -- and hurls insults.


President Barack Obama criticizes Sony Pictures' initial decision not to release "The Interview." Leigh Vogel, WireImage

North Korea on Saturday blamed Washington for disrupting its Internet connectivity, while again denying US government accusations that it was behind the hacking of Sony Pictures, according to a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The National Defense Commission, the state's ruling body, also called President Barack Obama a "monkey" for urging Sony's eventual release of "The Interview" -- a comedic film centered on a fictional US government plot to kill North Korea's dictatorial leader Kim Jong-Un and the heart of the ongoing conflict.

The reclusive government had complained about the "The Interview" for months before its planned Christmas Day release. Then, in late in November, Sony Pictures became the victim of a cyberattack from hackers who stole thousands of documents from the company's computer systems and released them on the Internet.

An anonymous group of hackers calling itself "Guardian of Peace" claimed responsibility for the hack, but the FBI has since declared the North Korean government is to blame. Obama vowed to "respond proportionately" but did not specify how.

Meanwhile, people claiming to be the hackers threatened 9/11-style attacks on any movie theater showing "The Interview," leading several chains to cancel showings and Sony to eventually bow to the would-be terrorist's demands.

President Obama was just one of many who criticized Sony for capitulating to the threats. "If somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don't like, or a news report that they don't like -- or even worse," Obama said during a press conference last week. "We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States."

So Sony did an about-face, releasing the film Wednesday online and in about 300 small theaters in the US.

Days earlier, however, on the heels of Obama's threat retaliate for the hack, North Korea's Internet connectivity got spotty and at one point was down completely. Dyn Research has noticed continued intermittent problems. And China's Xinhua news service reported Saturday that North Korea's Internet and 3G mobile networks "have been paralyzed," according to Reuters.

The US has denied any role in North Korea's Internet disruptions and the culprit could just be maintenance problems. But North Korea made clear in today's statement that it believes the US is retaliating for the Sony hack and it accused the US of acting like a bully.

"The United States, with its large physical size and oblivious to the shame of playing hide and seek as children with runny noses would, has begun disrupting the Internet operations of the main media outlets of our republic," the statement read.

The statement went on to blame Obama for the movie's ultimate release. "Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest." That is not the first time North Korea has likened Obama to a monkey.

Also in the statement, North Korea again denied US accusations that it was behind the Sony hack, and demanded the US prove as such.

"If the U.S. is to persistently insist that the hacking attack was made by the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea], the U.S. should produce evidence without fail, though belatedly," the statement read.