An Exclusive Look at Sony’s Hacking Saga

February 6, 2015 5:39 AM

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At 8:30 A.M. on November 24, the Monday before Thanksgiving, Amy Pascal arrived in her office in the Thalberg building, on the Sony Pictures lot, in Culver City, California. Pascal, 56, is among the most powerful people in Hollywood. Having spent 35 years in the trenches—from low-level secretary to her current job as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, the global television-digital-and-motion-picture conglomerate—she has earned the expansive third-floor office that was occupied by studio head Louis B. Mayer, in the 1930s and 1940s, when the Sony lot was the domain of mighty Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Mayer was known as “the Lion of Hollywood.” It was on these soundstages and movie sets that Atlanta was burned in Gone with the Wind and Dorothy followed the Yellow Brick Road to Oz. Since Sony and a consortium of investors purchased MGM, in 2005, its films have earned 142 Academy Award nominations, 10 of them for best picture.

The studio’s secrets were safe in Mayer’s day, when they died within the walls of a soundproof telephone room adjoining his office. Pascal believed she didn’t need the soundproof room. Like everyone else in the entertainment industry these days, she communicated through e-mail that was believed to b...

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