United States: State of Hawaii criticized by head of Federal Communications Commission over incoming missile alert mistake
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
On Sunday, the head of the U.S. Hawaii. He emphasized that the FCC would "focus on what steps need to be taken to prevent a similar incident from happening again."(FCC), , described the erroneous alert, sent on Saturday, warning of an imminent nuclear missile strike, as an "absolutely unacceptable" mistake by the Emergency Management Agency of the state of
At 8:07 am local time on Saturday, the(HI-EMA) sent out the following alert: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL." It appeared on people's mobile phones throughout the state and caused widespread panic. It took 38 minutes for the state to retract the warning, which Pai said made the error worse. , the HI-EMA's administrator, stated that an employee had mistakenly sent out the alert during a test performed at shift change. On Sunday, Cindy McMillan, communications director for state governor , clarified that after accidentally pressing the button to send the alert, the employee had gone on to accidentally confirm the command. Richard Rapoza, spokesperson for HI-EMA, said the employee had since been reassigned.
Pai said that FCC analysis of the incident showed that the state had failed to put "reasonable safeguards or process controls" in place to prevent a false alert from being sent. According to The New York Times, the state will now require two people to authorize the issuance of an alert. Also, a "cancellation template" will be created to solve the problem of quickly sending corrections over the mobile phone networks.
Both HI-EMA administrator Miyagi and Hawaii governor Ige apologized for the mistake, with Ige saying "I, too, am extremely upset about this." ABC News., a from Hawaii, referred to an "epic failure of leadership" in an interview with
Tests by North Korea of missiles that, according to a report in the , could strike Hawaii 20 minutes after launch have heightened tensions in the state. Air raid sirens used in the have been reactivated there.
- David Begnaud and Associated Press. "FCC chairman Ajit Pai slams 'absolutely unacceptable' Hawaii missile false alarm" — , January 14, 2018
- "Hawaii told to fix its alert system after false missile alarm" — , January 14, 2018
- "Hawaiian congresswoman calls false missile alarm 'an epic failure of leadership'" — , January 14, 2018 (Video)
- Adam Nagourney, David E. Sanger, Johanna Barr. "Hawaii Panics After Alert About Incoming Missile Is Sent in Error" — , January 13, 2018