Crisis Guru Judy Smith Secret Adviser In Sony Scandal

EXCLUSIVE
1219-judy-smith-getty-01Judy Smith -- the inspiration behind the Olivia Pope character on "Scandal" -- is on the case ... the Sony case, TMZ has learned.

Sources connected with the studio tell us ... Smith has been quietly advising Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal. We're told her focus is dealing with the torrent of criticism over the studio dropping "The Interview."

Smith runs Smith & Company, one of the premiere crisis management firms in the country.

Our sources tell us Smith has been especially helpful to Sony because of her deep contacts with the government, and she has been involved on both the D.C. and Hollywood fronts.

We're told Smith and other members of the Sony crisis team have been  behind some of the recent messaging ... that this is not just a Sony issue but an industry issue ... which takes some of the heat off Sony.

We're also told the crisis team is actually pleased with George Clooney's attack as it relates to creative and powerful people in the entire industry -- not just Sony -- taking a stand.

And we're told the crisis team is also pushing the message ... Sony's decision was in large part to protect the safety and welfare of its employees.

We're told the ultimate mission is to somehow contain the PR fallout and navigate a way forward.

It's not handled for sure, at least not yet, but Smith knows what's up.