State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf was involved in a tense back and forth with CNN reporter Elise Labott Tuesday, who asked Harf whether or not the United States had any responsibility in North Korea’s internet outage Monday.
“This isn’t our internet, Elise,” Harf asserted, before being pressed by Labott about whether or not the United States undertook “any type of cyber operations that could have led to the North Korean internet being down.”
Harf ultimately replied by dissuading any notion that she would have any new information on the matter:
“I don’t have anything new to share with you today about North Korea. The President has spoken to what our potential response is separate and apart from what we’ve seen over the last 24 hours might be. And I’d leave it to the North Koreans to talk about if their internet was up, if it wasn’t, and why.
“We’re just not going to entertain questions one way or the other about – any of these questions about possible U.S. responses of any kind. And I would caution you from assuming that because I’m not going to comment on them that the answer means one thing or the other.”
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On Monday, Harf did not deny American involvement. “We aren’t going to discuss, you know, publicly operational details about the possible response options or comment on those kind of reports in any way except to say that as we implement our responses, some will be seen, some may not be seen,” she said.
But one day later, Harf’s tone was more muted:
“I can’t confirm the reports that it actually wasn’t. So I would check with [the North Koreans]. They are certainly the right people to speak to this, and I don’t have much more on this.”
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