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Senator wants White House to host screening of 'The Interview'

Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, wants to watch "The Interview" at the White House. | AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman

Not only does Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, want to show “The Interview” at fundraisers, but Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, wants to raise the bar by having the White House host a screening.

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Vitter said an event should be held at the White House to show the movie once the 114th Congress convenes next month, according to Roll Call.

Vitter said it would send a clear message.

“The policy of rewarding terrorists, authoritarianism, and cruelty with concessions should not be the legacy we pursue,” Vitter wrote. “Therefore, I ask that you host a screening of comedy film ‘The Interview’ for Members of Congress in the White House the week of January 5th, to be followed by a serious discussion of the strong, substantive retaliatory measures we plan to take as a nation against cyber attacks.”

Sony pulled the movie’s Dec. 25 theatrical release last week after the nation’s top theater chains announced they would cancel screenings amid anonymous threats in the wake of the Sony hacking case. The incident set off a firestorm after the FBI accused North Korea of being behind it.

Over the weekend, North Korea said U.S. “citadels” and “the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism,” will be attacked.

Monday afternoon, North Korea suffered major Internet outage in what is being described as its worst network failure in years; the White House declined to comment.

Here’s the full text of Vitter’s letter, via Roll Call:

President Obama:

Today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledged that North Korea was behind the November “hack” of Sony Pictures, which has led to serious business impacts.

The policy of rewarding terrorists, authoritarianism, and cruelty with concessions should not be the legacy we pursue. Therefore, I ask that you host a screening of comedy film “The Interview” for Members of Congress in the White House the week of January 5th, to be followed by a serious discussion of the strong, substantive retaliatory measures we plan to take as a nation against cyber attacks.

Given the success of having their demands met, North Korea and other rogue actors are likely to be emboldened. They will be encouraged to ramp up anti-US internet terrorism, which is viewed as a safer, affordable, and now effective method of making demands. A strong message needs to be delivered to reassure the American people and U.S. businesses that we will not bend to the will of bad actors, whether they are hackers, terrorist, state-sponsors of terrorism, or nation states.

Such strong action is particularly needed because the United States is seeing the effects in this scenario of your Administration’s past weak policies, which have irreversible outcomes. Just two of the most obvious examples of the bad precedents set by your Administration are:

The transfer of five high-threat Taliban terrorists, the so-called “Taliban Dream Team,” out of Guantanamo in exchange for a U.S. soldier detained by the enemy in the Afghan theatre. In 2013, Senator Reid and your Administration restricted debate on the Defense Authorization bill, and the Senate was not able to incorporate previous year’s certification restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees. With the exclusion of those previous provisions of law, your Administration carried out a transfer previously deemed “high risk” and as a “senior Taliban official who served in multiple leadership roles” by your own intelligence estimates.

The freeing of the last of “Cuban Five”. This week your Administration announced a series of changes to Cuba policy, pursuant to a deal with dictator Raul Castro for the release American hostages. The policy changes were in addition to a prisoner exchange, freeing three Cuban spies who had been imprisoned in the United States. The release of these spies who are connected with the murder of U.S. citizens in the 1990’s, sets a new standard for the price your administration is willing to pay.

A strong message needs to be delivered to reassure the American people and U.S. businesses that we will not bend to the will of bad actors, whether they are hackers, terrorist, state-sponsors of terrorism, or nation states. The actions of the American government must step up to demonstrate that rogue actors across the world will not be rewarded for bad behavior.

Sincerely,

David Vitter

United States Senate