Officials say the Hawaii Emergency Management employee, who issued a ballistic missile alert to residents and caused mass panic for nearly 40 minutes earlier this month, has been terminated. In addition, the head of Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency has resigned.
News of the announcement came during a conference held Tuesday by Governor David Ige, state Adjunct General Major General Joe Logan and investigating officer Brigadier General Bruce Oliveira.
The leaders revealed that another employee resigned prior to disciplinary actions being taken against them. Logan said that Authorities are in the process of suspending another worker without pay.
According to Fox News, “It was reported earlier that the employee intentionally sent the message thinking the island was being attacked, the FCC said in a stunning reversal after officials had insisted the alert was the result of a mistaken keystroke.”
Oliveira said the employee, who had worked at the agency for 10 years, had a history of confusing drills and real-world events. In fact, the worker had made similar mistakes twice before.
The employee who pushed the wrong button and began an inbound ballistic missile alert reportedly feels awful about the mistake. Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA) confirmed in a news conference on Saturday that the civil defense employee is remorseful.
Rather than triggering a test of the system, the employee placed the system into actual event mode.
Here is what residents of Hawaii saw at approximately 8:07 a.m. on Saturday morning: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
Vern Miyagi, who oversees the EMA, revealed that in order to trigger the alert, there is a two-step process involving only one employee — who both triggers the alarm, then also confirms it.
Retired Army major general Miyagi said the remorseful employee would be “counseled and drilled so this never happens again,” but stopped short of saying whether or not there would be disciplinary measures taken.
Governor of Hawaii, David Ige, said in a statement on Sunday that the mistake was “an unfortunate situation that has never happened before and will never happen again.”
“ON BEHALF OF THE STATE OF HAWAI’I, I DEEPLY APOLOGIZE FOR THIS FALSE ALERT THAT CREATED STRESS, ANXIETY AND FEAR OF A CRISIS IN OUR RESIDENTS AND GUESTS,” IGE SAID.
At 8:20 a.m. local time, Hawaii EMA tweeted that there was “NO missile threat” to the state. But the tweet didn’t reach people who aren’t on the social media platform.
At the news conference, Miyagi said that there will now be a two-person rule in place for sending test alerts and actual alerts. He also offered an apology for the stresses resulting from the false alarm.
Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, tweeted that she would work to find out what occurred.
A White House official confirmed that President Trump, who is spending the weekend in Florida, had been briefed on the episode, which they said “was purely a state exercise.”