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President says Sony made a mistake in pulling movie

It’s official: The FBI linked the Sony Pictures hack back to North Korea today, as Associate Editor Fran Sales reports in this week’s Searchlight News Roundup. You can read the full FBI statement here.

The destruction and leaking of sensitive corporate data by a group calling itself  the Guardians of Peace was in retaliation for The Interview, a movie that depicts an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In a press conference following the FBI’s announcement, President Barack Obama made more news, saying that he thought Sony’s decision to cancel the Dec. 25 release  was a mistake.

“Sony’s a corporation; it suffered significant damage; there were threats against its employees; I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced. Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake,” Obama said.

The president said he wished Sony had discussed the issue with him first, because he would have advised the company to not let a dictator in another country bully them into pulling what was clearly a satirical movie.

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States. Because 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 news reports that they don’t like. Or, even worse, imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship, because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of somebody whose sensibilities probably need to be offended,” Obama said.

In other news this week, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer tries to restore the company to its former tech glory and Apple Pay may soon face a worthy rival in Samsung; and Sony is working on a clip-on wearable that may give Google Glass a run for its money. Check out these items and more in this week’s Searchlight.