Investigators: HI false missile warning “absolutely unacceptable”

World Today

US-HAWAII-SECURITY-POLITICS-DEFENCEA screen shot take by Hawaiian citizen Alison Teal shows the screen of her mobile phone with an alert text message sent to all Hawaiian citizens on January 13, 2018. Hawaii officials swiftly confirmed a cell phone alert warning of an incoming ballistic missile was a “false alarm” on January 13, 2018, but not before the ominous message unnerved residents and stirred confusion across the US state. (AFP PHOTO / Alison TEAL)

The Federal investigation into how more than one million Hawaiians received a false missile attack alert over the weekend continued Monday.

The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission issued a statement, “Based on the information we have collected so far, it appears that the government of Hawaii did not
have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert” calling it “absolutely unacceptable.”

Meantime, the administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Center, Vern Miyagi, is taking responsibility for the error which caused widespread panic across the island state.

“In our change of shift briefing force our 24-7 emergency operations center state warning point did do a practice drill. This is internal only, that is the intent. During the last practice drill on Saturday, the wrong button was pushed by one of our employees, and that’s what got it out,” he said. “Now, this is my team. This is my responsibility. This is my fault.”

The center has been doing these drills during the past several months to prepare for a potential nuclear missile attack from Pyongyang. Miyagi says once the false alert went out, there was no way to cancel it right away. It took 38 minutes to issue a correction.

“When it was realized, it went out, a cancellation button was pushed, however that cancellation button just stops message traffic from going out anymore, but the initial ones already went out. Consequently, we had to get another platform application on board so that we could add a message to the cancellation saying ‘it is a false alarm there is no missile inbound.’ That took us time, and that is what we are working on,” said Miyagi.

The delay in issuing the correction left Hawaiians terrified…and confused.

“There’s a ballistic missile heading toward here, toward Hawaii…Does anybody have any information out there…” one Hawaiian resident posted on Periscope.

Hawaiians say they want to get information on what to do to protect themselves. Officials want to prevent a false alert from going out in the first place. Hawaii didn’t have one.
They also worry that this mistake could give Hawaiians a reason not to trust warnings — when it counts. First priority: the islands need a way to prevent a false alert from going out in the first place.

After a false alarm warning of an incoming missile to Hawaii, many are wondering just how prepared the U.S. would be in a real emergency.

CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.

A day after a false missile alarm prompted panic, CGTN’s Wang Guang spoke with Matthew LoPresti, a representative in Hawaii’s state legislature.