Associated Press reporter Matt Lee eviscerated the U.S. State Department's suggestion that the U.S. Government can pressure North Korea to "compensate" Sony Pictures over the hacking scandal that resulted in the illegal publication of e-mails, as well as personal financial information, of Sony employees.
Noting that North Korea is one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world, Lee asked State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf to explain what she meant by ‘compensation.'
"How could Sony legally accept compensation from North Korea? Is there an exception?" Lee asked. "Because as far as I know, if you're getting a payment, a direct payment, from the North Korean government, you're breaking the law."
Harf said State Department attorneys could make an exception in the Sony case, but admitted that the issue of ‘compensating' was actually part of a broader point, not a specific request.
"I was broadly making the point that North Korea's offer this weekend to, quote, ‘help with the investigation,' was probably a little bit misplaced," Harf said. "There are things they could do to better assist, including admitting their culpability, and paying compensation."
"And what do you have in mind for that compensation, would that be like actors' salaries? Something like that?" Lee asked.
"I don't have more specifics for you than that," Harf said.