Sony’s decision to cancel the release of its controversial movie The Interview following threats from North Korean hackers prompted quick reactions from Republicans. Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee, tweeted: “.@SonyPictures don’t cave, fight: release @TheInterview free online globally. Ask viewers for voluntary $5 contribution to fight #Ebola.”
But other Republicans, still reeling from several days of embarrassing revelations about the depravity, illegality and inefficacy of the Bush-Cheney era’s torture policies, saw opportunities to use hacking to achieve a variety of goals… especially in cases where torture wasn’t an option.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News: “Hacking is the worst kind of 21st Century war crime. But I’d do it in a minute to stop movies from telling people about my torture policies.”
Paul Ryan insisted that “legitimate hacking,” when done by shady GOP operatives, was still OK: “If it’s like that time Karl Rove tried to take control of voting machines in Ohio, then I didn’t have a problem,” he said.
Sarah Palin tweeted: “Hacking is how we baptize our enemies’ computers.” When later asked if she understood what hacking was, Palin said: “Something I would use on ‘gotcha’ journalists who seek to destroy us.”
Rand Paul took to a CNET message board to ask if there was “any way to erase all traces of a speech I just plagiarized from the internet (after I’m done cutting and pasting, of course).”
Marco Rubio, meanwhile, was forced to deny that the new bio that had recently appeared on the official Senate website was the work of hackers he had hired: “If it says I arrived in America on Jack Sparrow’s pirate ship, it must be true,” he told CNN.
Senator Ted Cruz said: “We live in a new age of cybercrime in which hackers seek to destroy the US economy and bring our government to its knees. If there’s any hacker out there who would like to be my 2016 running mate, give me a call. We obviously have similar goals.”
President Obama, meanwhile, advised Americans simply to go to the movies this weekend, which Republicans will no doubt claim sounds very un-presidential.