WH: Today's actions are the first aspect of our response and there could be more to come
The Obama administration on Friday imposed a wave of sanctions against members of the North Korean government, amounting to the U.S. government's first official response to the cyber-attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Despite lingering questions from private security analysts over whether North Korea was responsible for the hack -- as the FBI has alleged -- the White House described the new sanctions as retaliation against Pyongyang.
"We take seriously North Korea's attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a U.S. company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
An executive order signed by President Obama authorizes sanctions against agencies and officials associated with the North Korean government and Workers' Party of Korea. Obama, in the order, cited North Korea's "provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies ... including its destructive, coercive cyber-related actions during November and December 2014."
The Treasury Department, in turn, designated three government-tied entities and 10 North Korean officials under those sanctions. The sanctions would deny them access to the U.S. financial system and bar them from entering the U.S.