(NBC NEWS) Comments by top U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama, that blamed North Korea for the Sony Pictures Entertainment cyberattack were apparently rooted in a top-secret penetration of North Korea's computer systems by the National Security Agency, according to a New York Times report independently confirmed by NBC News.
The Times reported that the penetration occurred before the hack of Sony, but U.S. intelligence officials would not discuss the report Sunday or confirm its details. But the Times report says the evidence gleaned from the U.S. penetration of North Korean government hackers' activities persuaded Obama and other top officials that North Korea was behind the attack.
NBC News has been told that the U.S. intelligence agencies did not have any warning of the Sony hacking through its monitoring of North Korean computers, and that the first the government learned of the Sony attack was on Nov. 24, when the company alerted the FBI's cyber unit.
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