Hawaii official believed threat was real and triggered ballistic missile alert

An emergency alert notification sent out on Saturday claiming a

Last week, an FCC official told a Senate committee hearing that the employee who sent out the false missile alert was not cooperating with its investigation. These officials said they didn't want to warn people for no reason or inundate them with irrelevant alerts.

Now it turns out there was no accidental user-interface blunder. On Tuesday, an investigation revealed that a night-shift manager had plans of testing the incoming day-side workers. The mistake sent the people of Hawaii into a panicked frenzy.

The midnight supervisor began the drill at 8:05 a.m.by pretending to be U.S. Pacific Command during a call to the day-shift warning officers. It ensured that no additional phones would get the message, including phones that were off or out of range.

"The recording does not follow the script contained in HI-EMA's standard operating procedure for this drill", is the only explanation provided. It ended with the phrase, "Exercise, exercise, exercise".

The report revealed a flaw in the procedure for sending an alert as well.

There was also a critical miscommunication between supervisors when they took over from one another at 8am on that fateful day.

The midnight-shift supervisor meant to test the day-shift staff with an unannounced drill, but because of a verbal miscommunication between the midnight-shift and day-shift supervisor, the latter believed the drill was intended for the night-shift, and therefore was unprepared and unaware for the drill.

The test was meant to take place during the morning shift change, in order to be more confusing and keep workers on their toes.

Guests at the Hyatt Residence Club Maui gather in a basement after a false alert was sent out about a
Guests at the Hyatt Residence Club Maui gather in a basement after a false alert was sent out about a"missile strike

Several of his colleagues stated during the investigation that they were not comfortable with having him as a supervisor, part of a two-person team, or even as a member of the state warning apparatus in general. It took another 38 minutes for the unprepared agency to send an alert correcting the mistake, though social media messages were sent quicker.

Najm Meshkati, a professor of engineering at the University of Southern California who studies complex system failures, called the Hawaii false-alarm a "classic" breakdown in which "there is not a very good handover from one shift to another shift and the information falls through the cracks". As such, the staffer thought it was a real event.

To send an alert, emergency management employees select a pre-written message from a dropdown menu on a computer.

The agency did not issue an official correction for more than 30 minutes, though lawmakers tweeted that the message had been sent in error within minutes of the alert being sent. And out the alert went.

What happened next is the ballistic missile version of Who's on First.

The report goes with the official version - of a misunderstanding - although it inserts a few skeptical notes.

Gov. David Ige and Hawaii Emergency Management Agency officials announced that HI-EMA administrator Vern Miyagi resigned this morning and the so-called "button pusher" has been terminated as a result of the state's internal investigation of the January 13 false alert of an imminent missile attack.

As for the long delay in announcing it was a false alarm, that is another series of cockups.

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