tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN December 19, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
you have a wonderful weekend. all of you, i hope you have wonderful weekends. stay right here. more from that huge, huge interview, the ceo of sony sitting down with fareed zakaria. that's next. i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. just minutes ago, president obama berated sony pictures for giving in to threats from north korea. how are they going to respond? i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the national lead, after the feds officially point the finger at north korea, president obama says, hey, you know what, some dictator someplace cannot dictate free speech to the united states. and he vows the u.s. will respond. plus, the top executive at sony pictures entertainment now talking to cnn. he says sony hasn't caved. he wants america to see this movie. well, maybe he hasn't checked his e-mail recently. but what we told our fareed zakaria just moments ago in the middle of the biggest crisis on his watch. the world lead, most people
in north korea don't even have the technology to watch "the interview." but the communists there were able to deploy a cyber army to get revenge for an insulting stoner flick. and it could be a blueprint, frankly, for more dangerous attacks against the u.s. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we begin this friday afternoon with some breaking news in our national lead. you're about to hear exclusively from the ceo of sony pictures entertainment who, frankly, just got called out by president obama. president obama wagging his finger at the company for caving to threats from north korean cyber terrorists. president obama frankly pulled no punches. >> it suffered significant damage. there were threats against its employees. i am sympathetic to the concerns
that they faced. having said all that, yes, i think they made a mistake. >> i think they made a mistake. today the fbi officially pinned the sweeping online attack on cyber criminals working for kim jong-un's government. a group called guardians of peace which the fbi now directly accuses of being part of a north korean hacker syndicate. they ransacked sony's servers back in september for revenge for "the interview." they leaked all sorts of personal information before warning the american people or rather anyone willing to pay $14 to go see a seth rogen movie. movie theater chains got so scared, they said they wouldn't show the film. and then sony pulled the movie from release altogether. but today the upbeat president gave a full-throated argument in favor of free speech and american values and said he worried about the precedent being set and forlornly wished
sony executives had called him first. >> we cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the united states. because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don't like. or news reports that they don't like. >> for its part, the north korean government today claimed ignorance. a spokesman insisting to reuters that pyongyang, quote, is not part of this. the president said so far there's no indication north korea is acting in conjunction with any other countries. he vowed a proportional response without revealing exactly what that means. as we said, the president lamented if only sony had called him before yanking the movie. but now sony america ceo says he did pick up the phone to call
the white house and the company's been working with the u.s. government for weeks. just minutes ago, fareed zakaria sat down with sony entertainment, chairman michael linton, in an exclusive interview. fareed joins me now. what did he have to say? >> it was a powerful interview. michael linton said he did call the white house, spoke with a senior white house official, informed them, briefed them about what was going on, that they had been working with the federal government for several weeks. he was complimentary of the fbi. he spoke with very senior white house officials about precisely what the president says he wished he had been informed about. >> the president says he wishes -- i wish they had -- what is your response? >> my response is that a few days ago, i personally did reach out and speak to senior folks in
the white house and talked to them about the situation and actually informed them that we needed help. the fbi has been with us now for several weeks and has been great. but i did reach out and explain the situation to them at that time. >> so the president is wrong when he says that you did not reach out to him? >> well, when he's asking about reaching out -- >> i wish they had talked to me first, that's the quote. >> right. we definitely spoke to senior advisers or a senior adviser in the white house to talk about the situation. the fact is, did we talk to the president himself and talk to him about what was transpiring at the theaters started pulling back? but the white house was certainly aware of the situation. >> fareed, i guess i'm not entirely sure. sounds like they were talking to the white house. but the president was specifically saying, i wish they had talked to me and asked my advice before they pulled the
film. i kind of got like a muddled message from the chairman, all due respect to him. what exactly was he saying he talked to the white house about? >> well, he talked to the white house about the fact that they had this threat. i think on the question of the pulling of the film, what he said -- what michael linton said was that the president, the public and the press have misunderstood. his argument is sony never pulled the film. what happened was sony was working very hard to get the film out. what happened was the movie theaters came to them, the major chains and one after the other refused to show it. and his argument is, look, at some point if you don't have anyplace to show the movie, all we did was canceled the december 25th release. and he did say that does not mean that they aren't going to show the movie. it means the december 25th release cannot proceed because there is no movie theater in america that was willing to show it. and you'll hear him say that.
the president says sony made a mistake in pulling the film. did you make a mistake? >> no. i think actually the unfortunate part is in this instance, the president, the press and the public are mistaken as to what actually happened. we do not own movie theaters. we cannot determine whether or not a movie will be played in movie theaters. so to sort of rehearse for a moment the skrens equence of ev we experienced the worst cyberattack in american history and persevered for 3 1/2 weeks under enormous stress and enormous difficulty and all with the effort of trying to keep our business up and running and get this movie out in the public. when it came to the crucial moment when a threat came out from what was called the g.o.p.
at the time, threatening audiences who would go to the movie theaters, the movie theaters came to us, one by one over the course of a very short period of time, we were completely surprised by it, and announced they would not carry the movie. at that point in time, we had no alternative but to not proceed with the theatrical release on the 25th of december. that's all we did. >> you have not caved in? >> we have not caved. we have not given in. we have persevered and we have not backed down. we have always had every desire to have the american public see this movie. >> so, fareed, i had heard a few weeks ago -- i'm sorry, a few days ago that there were big concentrations going on with netflix to try to get this streaming into people's homes through netflix. is there any hope of the movie being released that way or on
demand or online or some other way? >> jake, the impression i got is that they are very active discussions and consideration going on about precisely this. but again what he pointed out was they don't own the pipes -- that you can't just put something on the internet, especially in this context because you know what's going to happen. this north korean cell is going to hack at those pipes. so you need netflix or even if it's youtube, you need google to be willing to make the investment and to take the risk, frankly, of withstanding these kind of cyber attacks, withstanding the malware that would come. so far, he did say to me no one has stepped forward. this struck me at very important. they continue to look at every alternative, including free distribution on youtube. >> does sony regret --
>> there are a number of options open to us and we have considered those and are considering them. as it stands right now, while there have been a number of suggestions that we go out there and deliver this movie digitally, there has not been one major video on demand distributor, one major e-commerce site that's stepped forward and said they are willing to distribute this movie for us. we don't have that direct interface with the american public. we need an intermediary to do that. >> i guess the big question for the chairman, does he regret making this movie to begin with? >> you know, i asked him just that question. i said to him, a lot of people say this was a tasteless comedy and he was very strong on that. he said, look, that's not the issue. we made a movie we thought was a funny movie. but the real issue is, you have a group of artists who have made an artistic product.
they deserve to have the public be able to see it. and i did ask him, do you regret making the movie. listen to what he said. would you make the movie again? >> yeah, i would make the movie again. i think for the same reasons we made it in the first place, it was a funny comedy, it was -- it served as political satire. i think we would have made the movie again. knowing what i know now, we might have done some things slightly differently. but i think a lot of events have overtaken us in a way that we had no control over the facts. >> and you're saying you still want the public to see this movie? >> we would still like the public to see this movie, absolutely. >> but somebody has to step forward, whether netflix or youtube or on demand, someone, and take the risk of actually showing it. fareed zakaria, great work. thank you so much. be sure to catch fareed's full
interview with the ceo of sony tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "a.c. 360." the president said sony made a mistake by pulling its release of the interview. does hollywood agree? did the company give in to the cyber terrorists and does this set a bad example on how to handle cyber threats? we'll pose those questions next to the current chair of the senate intelligence committee. so,as my personal financial psychic,
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give the gift of amazing sleep, only at a sleep number store. find our best buy rated c2 queen mattress with sleepiq. know better sleep with sleep number. welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. president obama all but scolding sony pictures today for scrapping plans to release "the interview" film. and sony hitting back in a way, telling cnn exclusively that they really had no choice. now, the movie itself may be a farce. but the bigger picture here has very serious implications for u.s. national security. the chairwoman of the national
security committee. senator dianne feinstein, what's your response? >> here's my response. this is part of a much bigger picture. it really began in 2008 with robberies by cyber of both the royal bank of scotland and citibank, to the tune of about $8 million and $10 million, respectively. it has gone on and graduated to the point where most companies have been attacked one way or another. in the last two years, we have jpmorgan chase, we have home depot, we have ebay and we have target. what's different to me about this attack is the monumental size of it, and secondly, there is extortion involved with it. in other words, the north koreans are saying, unless you do this, we will do that. and this is where it becomes
extraordinarily dangerous. in the six years that have gone by, we have no real policy to handle this. right now, you can look at north korea, taken off the terrorist list, you can see this attack is in a sense a terrorist attack. you could put them back on. you can levy financial sanctions against them. but the big problem is developing an international agreement with teeth to stop this kind of behavior because we're going toward bloodshed, i believe, if we don't solve it. we have tried to pass a cyber information sharing bill. >> what do you mean by bloodshed? that seems like a very stark comment. >> well, because you can respond in a number of different ways. attacks can come in a number of different ways. there can be an attack on the
electrical system of the united states, on airport computers of the united states. we're getting into the arena of major attacks. right now, it has to do a great deal with private industry. but the cost for private industry is now in the trillions of dollars. and it has to be stopped. so the question comes, how do you stop it? one step is allow companies to share information, both with each other and through what we call a portal with the federal government and get responses, where necessary, from technicians in the federal government and be protected for liability for so doing. that's part of our information sharing bill that we passed out of the intelligence committee that has been awaiting floor action. and we hope this next year, we will get it to the floor and get it passed. >> let me ask you about the events of the last week when it comes to sony pictures. do you think the decision by the
movie theater chains and by sony pictures sets a dangerous precedent, as president obama said? >> i don't quite understand -- danger -- the response by sony sets a dangerous precedent? >> he was saying if sony caves in because north korea doesn't like this film, this silly stoner flick, what happens when north korea or another enemy of the united states doesn't like a documentary or doesn't like news or doesn't like a company? like, did sony just blink and now we are all subject to that? >> well, i listened to mr. lynton very carefully for the excerpts that came through from fareed zakaria. i think he did practice all due diligence. he did call the white house. he has tried to work something out. he recognizes that their contracts with big theater companies, if they pull out, that obviously prompts a decision on his part.
this is a complicated matter. and there is the question of liability. if something were to happen, who is liable for the loss of life? >> you heard mr. lynton saying, so far in company, whether netflix or on demand or youtube, no one has stepped forward to offer to show this movie, presumably because they're all so afraid that they're going to be hacked, too? >> well, that's correct. and that's why it is so important to take governmental action and assure america's business sector, america's entertainment sector, america's transportation sector, that the government has a plan and an ability to respond appropriately imminently. now, this attack took place almost a month ago. so we're 3 1/2 weeks into it and still going back and forth as to
what might be done or who should have done what. and this can't continue to happen, in my view. this is a problem that's going to be with us for a very long time. and so we have to get certain strictures in place and the ability to handle it. >> senator, as chair of the intelligence committee in the senate, do you think that north korea is acting alone here or do you suspect that there might be another country involved? >> well, i have no way of knowing at this stage. i assume since the digital marks, as i understand it, come directly from north korea and this guardians of peace organization, which i gather is government-enabled and probably controlled, that puts an onus on the government. i would hope that we can convince the north koreans that this carries a very heavy price. and maybe it's the beginning of
america taking some actions. the eventual action has to be a worldwide agreement because we have these attacks from a number of different places. certainly we have attacks from china. we have attacks from russia. we have attacks from iran and we have attacks from within our own country. so it has become a very sad way of life. and at some point, we face a disastrous attack. and this is what we must prevent. and only some international enforceable agreement is the way to solve it, that i can see. the fact is, we've gone on for six years now after these first two big attacks and it continues on. so i am one not to assess blame or say -- the blame has to be against us. we have to find a way to control these and respond to these and
stop these. that's not an easy thing to do. >> senator dianne feinstein, thank you so much. happy holidays to you. >> same to you, jake. it's a place where the web isn't closed to being worldwide at all. how did north korea, according to the federal government, north korea hack into a multibillion-dollar movie company's computers and spark all of this lunacy? we'll show you how next. also in the pop culture lead today -- >> folks, if this is your first time tuning in to "the colbert report," i have terrible news. >> all the highlights from the final "colbert report" and my interview with the only man who can bring willsie nelson and cookie monster on stage together. don't settle for 4g lte coverage that's smaller or less reliable when only one network is america's largest and most reliable 4g lte network: verizon.
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has been backtracking data released online, working to identify who put it there. sources told cnn hackers stole the credentials of a sony administrator, then went to town. they lurked around the system for months, then stole information. at times the fbi thought even other countries like maybe iran or china might have been involved. so what led u.s. intelligence to this point? let's bring in cnn chief national security correspondent, jim sciutto. how much evidence does the u.s. have, evidence? >> this was a cyber sleuthing investigation that was as unprecedent unprecedented. investigators working around the clock tracking the hackers around the world, from asia, including china, to europe, latin america, even servers here in the u.s. and as they went, they were eliminating other potential suspects, including china, iran, russia, but ultimately leading right back to north korea. the blame has been dealt.
the u.s. now calling out north korea, naming the rogue nation publicly as responsible for the sony hack. in a statement today, the fbi said, quote, the destructive nature of this attack coupled with its coercive nature sets it apart. >> we cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the united states. >> reporter: the hackers sent investigators on a worldwide chase, routing the attack through servers ranging from countries in asia including china, then europe and latin america. some servers in the u.s. were even used. still, the nsa and fbi were able to track the attack back to north korea and its government. >> think of this as dirty tricks on a global scale. this has exceeded their expectations. they always make threats. most people shrug off the threats. so threatening a cyber 9/11. the film is dead, they must be incredibly happy in pyongyang.
>> reporter: now that the country behind those damaging keystrokes has been identified, the administration is looking how to respond. >> they caused a lot of damage. and we will respond. we will respond proportionally, and we'll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose. >> reporter: the u.s. could impose sanctions on north korea's prized military complex. and further economic sanctions, including applying even tighter restrictions on pyongyang's access to dollar-denominated trade, the state's lifeline to fuel food and crucially weapons. but u.s. officials aren't calling the hack on act of terror or war. >> the cyber domain remains challenging, very fluid, part of the reason why it's a challenging domain for us is there aren't internationally accepted norms and protocols. that's something that we here in
the defense department have been certainly arguing for. >> the president today unyielding in his response and encouraging america and american businesses to be unyielding as well, not to be cowled by attacks like this. but the damage is defense. tens of billions of dollars lost every year from cyber attacks emanating from just china alone. that's over a number of years. and the country hasn't figured out a way to defend very well, partly it's cost. partly, it's difficult to do. and partly is cooperation between the private sector and the government, as senator dianne feinstein mentioned to you. it's going to take some time. >> you heard her frustration, six years. jim sciutto, thank you so much. now we know how the u.s. traced the cyber attack to north korea. but how did the hackers pull it off? bruce clinger worked as the cia's deputy division chief and monitored north and south korea. he joins me now. just to be frank here, north korea's not exactly known for being sophisticated when it
comes to data mining and anything have to do with hardware or software. do you think, as the president suggested, that they are capable of doing this without the help of china or another country? >> very much so. there is the perception of north korea as a technologically backward nation. if you've seen the nighttime photos of north korea, seems to be no electricity emanating. but they have an extensive cyber warrior capability. we've had defectors from a unit called 121. there may be 3,000 of these cyber warriors in a unit subordinate to a security service. additional cyber attackers can be in a military unit. north korea's in the top five of the countries that can have cyber attack. >> and these cyber warriors or cyber terrorists, they're spread out throughout the globe, right? they're not just in north korea. >> exactly. they're trained in north korea but they can also be trained in china and elsewhere. and the defectors have said they
don't usually operate from north korea to reduce the signature. so they operate out of china, singapore, europe, perhaps the united states. but they'll use computers worldwide to hide their signatures. >> insulting kim jong-un or before him kim jong-il, not exactly a new thing created by james franco and seth rogen. any evidence north korea has tried anything like this before? >> yes. they have done cyber attacks, u.s. and south korea has linked them to cyber attacks against u.s. government agencies, south korea government agencies south korean banks, even dissident groups in the south. and north korea responds very strongly to anything they perceive as an insult to their leader. they've threatened south korean media organizations, even publishing the geographic ordinates of the headquarters as a way of making clear their message. >> wow. do you think north korea is expecting a response from the u.s.?
>> they may not. there have been many times when they've conducted military attacks, even leading to loss of life of u.s. and south korean citizens and the u.s. and seoul did not respond. so they may feel they have immunity really from a strong u.s. or south korean response. >> do you think that the u.s. needs to respond? >> i think so. there are a number of things we can do. first of all, this attack may fulfill the legal requirements for putting north korea back on the state sponsors of terrorism list. it includes definitions of criminal acts conducted in the u.s. intended to coerce the population. also more broadly, there are a number of things we can do still on sanctions. north korea is not the most heavily sanctioned country in the world, despite the widespread perception. the u.s., eu and u.n. have put far more expansive, far stronger sanctions on iran. that's one reason they came back to the table. we've also done things on iran, burma, syria and zimbabwe that
we haven't done to north korea. we continue with sony in our pop culture lead. today, two of the most famous people on the planet are speaking out. george clooney and president obama. president obama says the decision was a mistake. >> it says something interesting about north korea that they decided to have the state mount an all-out assault on a movie studio because of a satirical movie starring seth rogen and jamie franco. i love seth and i love james. but the notion that that was a threat to them i think gives you some sense of the kind of regime we're talking about here. >> as for george clooney and maybe only a guy george clooney big can rip into showbiz like this without fear of recrimination, he committed a statement arguing, they should
not give into the demands of cyber terrorists. quote, to give into these criminals now will open the door for any group that would threaten freedom of expression, privacy and personal liberty. we hope these hackers are brought to justice but until they are, we will not stand in fear. joining me to talk about the ongoing fallout is matthew bellamy. matthew, what's the response in hollywood to what the president had to say and then the sony response, that they had been working with the white house? >> i think you've got a clear back-and-forth here. the president was clear, he called it a mistake. he called out a studio for the way they handled this. i think people in hollywood were taken aback by that. he said it was a mistake to pull the film. then he says that, just call me, if you wanted to talk about this, just call me, michael lynton of sony is saying they did call and talk with the white
house. >> clooney is not as alone as some might think. celebrities have been taking to twitter blasting sony's decision. i want to get your reaction to what comedian chris rock had to say. take a listen. >> this whole thing is just scary, man. somebody e-mails, it's your private stuff -- the whole town is scared. everybody's got to be scared. >> away from twitter, is that how people in hollywood feel? >> i think so. i think there are two things going on here. there is a fear of the personal stuff, of people's personal e-mails and exchanges being exposed and kind of the cyber attack on the industry. and then i think there's a larger fear. there's the chilling effect that might go on here. you have essentially a studio saying, we're not going to release a film that offends a country. and we know that it was the theater owners that sort of
backed them into this decision. but that's the way the talent is perceiving this. that a studio is now not releasing a film because a country doesn't like it. and the effects on that, on future movies, on future subjects of media, i think are only beginning. >> and we're already seeing that paramount pulling a screening of a steve carell film set in north korea, was supposed to start shooting in march. that's been scrapped. i would be afraid if i depended on creative expression and the freedom of speech to do my craft. >> i think if you're a screenwriter and you have a script that is set in north korea, you might as well throw it in the trash right now because it's not going to get made. every studio is going to re-evaluate the political sensitivities of every movie they put in production. i think that ultimately is going to have a negative impact on the output of the industry. >> and we in journalism rely on the same freedom of the press, freedom of speech.
this is chilling. today it's just movies. tomorrow, it could be much, much more. >> and president obama's comments on that subject were very on point. he said, what if they don't like a documentary or a media report? every one of us is in a creative media industry. and we're producing content that are ultimately going to offend certain people around the world. now we have an example of that media being silenced because a particular person doesn't like it. >> thank you so much, matt. hope you have a good holiday season. >> no problem. president obama now headed for hawaii, the hard part of his day finally finished. now we'll analyze his words after his news conference a few hours ago. the politics beyond the podium, plus the legacy he is trying to leave behind. that's coming up next.
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south lawn, onto air force one and off to hawaii. but where we have to go through tsa acts and submit our bags and shoes to inspections, presidents have to subject themselves to full-on probes from the white house press corps. the president began today by bullet-pointing his achievements. >> more jobs, more people insured, a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, booming energy -- pick any metric that you want, america's resurgence is real. we are better off. >> but in between laying out the playbook for what he called his fourth quarter in office, the president was asked about north korea and cuba and race relations and more. here to discuss it all, cnn political commentator stephanie cutter and ana cabrera. david also joins us.
he seemed to be in a great mood, a better mood than i've seen him in years. >> eggnog. >> eggnog. >> it was barack obama -- he was as loose as he would be on a basketball court playing pick-up basketball. because he was in some senses liberated, liberated by defeat, first of all, with no other elections to lose and by the forward action of what he's done in the last couple of things. >> ana, how much do you think cuba and his move on cuba is actually going to have any negative consequences for him? the american people seem, at least according to polls, behind a shift. i know it's going to be a big issue in the republican primaries. but do you think it's going to hurt obama at all? >> i think that's nor why he timed it for when he did. both with immigration and cuba he timed it for after the 2014 elections. i think everybody who's dealt with president obama has been watching him when he was candidate obama, snows this is
probably something he wanted to do from day one. and politics, the restraint of politics have kept him from doing it. remember, there was a close congressional race in south florida. supposed to be a close governors race in florida. i think he didn't want the cubans come november to remember. now those restraints are gone. he doesn't have a price to pay. others may but it won't be him. by the time 2016 rolls around, i hope this will be a moot point. those castro brothers are looking old and frail. >> stephanie, what else is on this list of -- i feel like president obama has cuba, check, immigration executive action -- guantanamo, closing guantanamo. what else can he do or will he try to do? >> i have seen a lot of these press conferences. this was vintage obama. he was energetic, he was incredibly optimistic about the future but also what i really liked about it, more
aggressively talking about what we've accomplished. over the course of the next year, i think you'll continue to see significant action. we've got climate standards, first-ever climate standards to protect this country. we've got international climate negotiations taking place for the first time. china is submitting to standards. >> these are all executive actions, not congressional -- >> but he was very clear he really does want to work with congress. he wants to find common ground on some of the things we can agree to. >> yeah, kind of. he said trade, trade measurements. >> >> trade is important. >> he was issuing veto -- like, if you dry to come after the wall street reform bill, i will veto it and you cannot override my veto. he all but said he would veto keystone. >> not totally sure on that one. >> what he said today about keystone, about how this was not going to create very many jobs
in the united states -- >> he said that a month ago, too. but i think the question still is can he build the alliances and does he even want to? he's done everything -- i think obama went into office wanting to be a great president. i think he was thwarted in many respects by himself and by the opposition. and now i think he's doing everything he can to try to reach some level of that. and so some of it is by an odd form of leadership. i don't think we've ever seen a leader quite like barack obama before. he's not that great at building alliances. he's not necessarily the strongest at making the world think they're afraid of him. and yet he's been able to get a lot done. >> he's made a calculation. he's not going to be able to do the big permanent solutions, not on things like immigration. he can't lift the embargo because it's codified in law. but the things he can do, he's decided, i'm liberated and if i'm going alone, that's what i'm going to do.
he told us this was what he was going to do back in the state of union earlier this year. he said, i'm going to use the power of my pen. now that the elections have passed. he is a caged bird that's been released. he has been in political quarantine for the entire political campaign season. he's out and he's the caged bird singing. >> stephanie, what do you expect to happen in 2015? is it going to be more gridlock or do you think they're going to be able to come to terms on something? >> i think they'll come to terms on things. i think this is not atypical of presidents entering in the final two years of their presidencies. with bill clinton, i worked in the clinton white house for the tail end of that presidency. he was just coming off impeachment at this point. but he was still able to work across party lines -- >> 67% approval rating. obama's at 42%. >> this is more like '95 in some sense, comparing clinton and
obama. you remember bill clinton had to give the press conference where he said, i'm still relevant. obama's already done that. >> you've got to have drunk some of that spiked punch, too, to be believing that -- >> my point is executive actions are a common tool for presidents at this stage of their presidency -- >> saying he's relevant without actually saying, i'm still relevant. thank you all so much. happy holidays to all of you. up next in our pop culture lead -- >> i promised you a revolution. i have delivered. technically, one revolution is 360 degrees right back to where we were. >> that's the thing about stephen colbert, sometimes the truth hurts. his thoughts, his last word as he says his final good-byes to the nation. you used to sleep like a champ.
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finally, a new television show premieres and changes the world. open wide, baby bird, because momma's got a big, fat night crawler of truth. here comes "the colbert report". >> welcome back to "the lead." that was stephen colbert on his first episode of "the colbert report" which ended its incredible nine-year run last night. in all the episodes, colbert's done it all and seen it all. interviewed presidents and celebrities alike. had a nasa treadmill named after him, hosted a rally on the national mall to restore sanity and/or fear. last night on the final "report" he brought back a few friends, including your humble anchor. to send the character into immortality. ♪ in all truthiness it was undeniably the best television
finale i've ever been involved in. after a celebrated nine-year run, stephen colbert, the kashlt, not the comedian, bid a fond farewell to the colbert nation last night. >> if this is your first time tuning in, i have terrible news. >> reporter: colbert's been a satirical newsman since 1997, two years before jon stewart even came on board. ♪ we'll meet again >> reporter: and now after nine years behind the anchor desk, stephen colbert ended his run as stephen colbert, the satirical anchor. sars from all genres joined in one voice, even henry kiss ging
as big bird carried the tune. colbert took the helm in 2005. you're my date. this is before your show. >> if you meet tom brady -- >> reporter: you get up at some point in the meal. very polite. you get up. about 45 minutes later you come back and you said, i just made a deal to have my own show. >> yes. i told you what it was. >> reporter: you told me what it was. >> you said, that's a terrible idea. >> reporter: i said, i loved you as a correspondent. >> you poured cold water on it. >> reporter: i was worried about it. >> you were. i remember thinking, hey, what? >> reporter: because i didn't know if you could do the character for a half hour. >> i didn't either. i knew i could do it for half an hour. i'm not sure if i could do it more than once. maybe by the second guy, people would say, that guy's a complete
a-hole, why am i doing it? your instincts are terrible. not journalistic. your show business instincts. >> reporter: what a wild ride it's been for the colbert nation, from colbert hosting the white house correspondents dinner and roasting president bush to hosting his show in a war zone and of course all of this -- >> running for president, saving the olympics, colbert super pac, treadmill in space, the rally to restore sanity and/or fear -- none of that was really me. you, the nation, did all of that. i just got paid for it. >> reporter: colbert now moves up the street in manhattan to cbs and the famed ed sullivan theater will he will succeed david letterman as host of "the late show." he will just be stephen colbert. stephen, we hardly knew ye.
here's to getting to know stephen all over again. >> okay, that's the show. >> that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." have a great weekend. happening now, breaking news, calling out sony. president obama weighs in on the exploding controversy saying the studio should not have bowed to terror threats as the fbi lays blame for the devastating cyber attack directly, publicly on north korea. sony responds. the ceo talks exclusively to cnn, contradicting the president, saying he's mistaken. will sony still give audiences a chance to see the movie at the center of this drama? axis of evil, experts say the sony attack was too sophisticated to be carried out by north korea alone. did kim jong-un's regime have help? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."