Kim Jong Un's image was burned during a protest in South Korea in September. The protesters showed more courage than Sony and there was no retaliation. (Photo: Getty)

Kim Jong Un’s image was burned during a protest in South Korea in September. The protesters showed more courage than Sony and there was no retaliation. (Photo: Getty)

North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un has raised the political stakes considerably with his country’s sponsorship of Sony’s hacker attack. As bad as that was, terrorist threats against movie theaters directly challenged the security of the United States. It can’t go unanswered.

Sony was placed in a difficult position.

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It should have faced down the threat and taken a stand in defense of freedom of expression. As difficult as that may have been, it was the best course to prevent future cyber attacks and threats of violence.

Instead, it chose to stand on its wallet.

For good reason, the United States has maintained that it will not negotiate with terrorists or give in to ransom demands, no matter what the outcome. Otherwise, the threats would be unending, and the world would be a lot more dangerous.

Sony Pictures, on the other hand, is a corporation, and the decision came down to what matters most–money. The threat of an attack created a huge legal liability.

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Plus, moviegoers could have been harmed, not so much by a terrorist attack, but by some lone yahoo who decides to take advantage of the situation, according to police.

Even so, Sony still punted.

It left it up to individual theater chains to decide whether to show the film. Sony agreed to hold them harmless on contractual obligations.

When the flight turned into a stampede, Sony canceled the film’s distribution. After all, it is only a movie.

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It can be re-released later, once all the smoke has cleared, the perpetrators, hopefully, are caught and the threat is assessed.

But it shouldn’t end there.

Sony did a great disservice because it opened up other companies and the country itself to future attacks and intimidation.

The United States must take cyber security seriously and be ready to take action against state-sponsored attacks that lead to blackmail and threats against citizens.

North Korea claims publicly that it was not involved, but the hackers made clear that Sony was attacked because of the movie “The Interview,” a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco about the assassination of Kim Jung-Un.

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In this country it’s satire; in North Korea, it’s grounds to be tortured and executed.

National Security Council spokeswomanBernadette Meehan told reporters, today, the government is “considering a range of options.”

Hopefully, they will send a strong message that similar attacks won’t be tolerated.

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