On Friday when President Obama held his end-of-the-year press conference, the topic of the Sony hack and the withdrawal of “The Interview” came up. The president said that his administration would respond to the hack, which he considered a criminal action, but was not going to say how it would carry out that response. Then he took more questions, and got this one from Roberta Rampton of Reuters:
On the hack, I know that you said that you’re not going to announce your response, but can you say whether you’re considering additional economic or financial sanctions on North Korea? Can you rule out the use of military force or some kind of cyber hit of your own?
I was listening to that portion of the press conference in my car and started shouting at the radio, “He just said he’s not going to discuss what the response would be! Were you not in the room 15 seconds ago?” Obama remained calm and repeated that he wasn’t going to get into details.
It reminded me of another press conference, this one during the first Gulf War in 1991 — the one where Iraq invaded Kuwait and the US pushed back — which “Saturday Night Live” parodied with Kevin Nealon (as Lt. Col. William Pierson) taking questions from the media. Note: aside from the all-star cast of that era, keep an eye out for two SNL writers among the questioners, the late Tom Davis and a young redhead named Conan O’Brien…