Hawaii missile alert was intentional due to misunderstanding says FCC

31 January, 2018, 10:53 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

The employee "had a history of confusing drill and real-world events", Oliveira said. Now we're told confusion arose when conflicting messages were sent in a test of the system during a shift change.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency administrator Vern Miyagi has resigned and employees involved in the statewide missile-alert panic on January 13 have been either terminated, suspended or resigned, it was announced today.

Miyagi accepted full responsibility for the incident and the actions of his employees, Logan said.

Ige has appointed Brig.

The exits come after the Federal Communications Commission issued a report that blamed the incident on communication lapses between administrators and staff.

The employee, whose name has not yet been released, received "on the spot" corrections from his supervisor and additional counseling, officials said. The FCC's report says that the employee actually did believe there was an emergency, and that there was miscommunication between supervisors at the state-run facility that monitors missile activity.

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The worker who triggered the alarm, who has not been identified, heard the second phrase, but did not hear the first, the report said, adding that this person was the only one who had not realised it was a drill. It took 38 minutes for officials to send an alert retracting the warning. Hawaii Gov. David Ige reportedly struggled to remember his Twitter password so he could tell everyone that the alert was just an error. Believing the instructions were for a real emergency, the worker sent the live alert to the cellphones of all Hawaii residents and visitors.

The fired employee later incorrectly activated the "real-world" alert code. The supervisor played a recorded message over the phone.

Not only was the system new but managers made a decision to push it to its limits - simulating a live ballistic missile defense drill, with no notice, specifically as the shift changed at 8am.

Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony, a HI-EMA spokesman, said "there's really no law" to force the former employee, who was an HGEA union member, to participate in the investigations. Later, another employee took over the computer and sent the correction because the worker "seemed confused".

Officials had previously described the episode as an accident.

"Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii".

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A state probe into the false missile alert that went to Hawaii phones on January 13 included a minute-by-minute breakdown of what happened before and after the warning was triggered. "There is no missile threat to Hawaii". This meant the day-shift manager was not prepared to supervise the morning test, FCC investigators found.

At the news conference releasing the internal report, Logan said the supervisors for both shifts were in the hallway, not the room when the false alert went out.

"While other emergency management agencies use no-notice drills under special circumstances, their common practice is to schedule drills in advance for a set date and time", the FCC concluded.

There were two "troubling things" in the FCC preliminary findings, Pai said.

"[Every state and local government] should ensure that it has adequate safeguards in place to prevent the transmission of false alerts, and each should have a plan in place for how to immediately correct a false alert", Pai said.

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