David Goldman, File/AP
Ariana Bacle
December 18, 2014 AT 08:05 PM EST

At a Thursday press briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed that the FBI and the National Security Division of the Department of Defense are continuing to investigate the recent Sony hack, which he says is “being treated as a serious national security matter.”

Although Earnest didn’t provide details about the investigation, he was clear that President Obama’s administration stands “squarely on the side of artists and other private citizens who seek to freely express their views.”

“While we may not agree with the content of every single thing that is produced, we certainly stand squarely on the side of private individuals to express themselves,” Earnest said. “And that is a very that is strongly held by this administration, as it has been throughout the history of our country.”

Regarding America’s response to the attacks, Earnest said only, “We believe this destructive activity merits an appropriate response.”

Intelligence officials told The New York Times Wednesday that the North Korean government was “centrally involved” in the attack on Sony, but Earnest did not confirm any statements about North Korea’s involvement.

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