CIA Director John Brennan declined Sunday to confirm or deny reports that the United States disrupted North Korea's Internet system in December in retaliation for Pyongyang's hack on Sony Entertainment.
North Korea's Internet connections suffered outages for a few days in late December after U.S. President Barack Obama blamed the communist nation for the massive hack on Sony and promised a "proportional response."
The U.S. has since neither confirmed nor denied its role in the North's Internet outages.
The issue re-emerged this past week as Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told a cyber-security event in Washington that the North's Internet outage was retaliation for the Sony hack.
The lawmaker was quoted as saying, "There were some cyber responses to North Korea."
On Sunday, CIA Director Brennan was asked if the U.S. was behind the North's Internet disruptions, but he refused to confirm or deny the speculation, only saying that the North's infrastructure is rickety and its Internet system has problems.
"The North Korean system is fraught with a number of sort of challenges, because it is a country that, unfortunately, has put its pursuit of military capabilities in front of what the best interests are of the people," Brennan said in an interview with Fox television.
"And so, there is an infrastructure there that is rickety, there are challenges that they face on a technical front. So there are a lot of reasons why the North Korean people and the Internet system out there has problems," he said.
Pressed for a clearer answer, Brennan only said, "I'm not going to address anything that we may have done in that instance, and I'm not acknowledging anything at all here." (Yonhap)