Hawaii false missile alert sender says he thought drill was real

The unidentified worker who sent a ballistic missile threat message in Hawaii appeared on NBC Nightly News on Feb. 2 2018

The incident "shines a light" on the state's system failures, the man who sent the alert said, adding that he believes the federal government should handle such alerts. "I don't hear the beginning of the message coming across because what we're supposed to do is hit speakerphone on the line so everyone can hear the message".

"Immediately afterward, we find out it was a drill and I was devastated", the man said.

It took almost 40 minutes for the agency to figure out a way to retract the false alert on the same platforms it was sent to.

The ex-worker, who was eventually fired for the gaffe, said he felt "very badly for what's happened, the panic and the stress people felt, and all the hurt and pain".

The man had twice confused exercise drills with real emergencies before this time as well, including a fire drill and tsunami warning.

Gov. Ige, whose response to the incident was also called into question, said there was certainly need for improvement in the procedures and said changes had been implemented so there would be no repeat of the January 13 incident.

"I felt sick afterwards".

Despite this, state officials say other workers present at the time clearly heard the word "exercise" repeated several times.

He's had difficulty eating and sleeping since, he said: "It's been hell for me the last couple weeks".

The fired worker says he plans to file an appeal to try and get his job back, and he's considering filing a lawsuit against the state for defamation.




"I heard the part, 'this is not a drill, '" he said. The ex-worker disputed that, saying he was not aware of any performance problems.

The incident occurred when a supervisor made a decision to give the arriving day-shift workers a spontaneous drill, according to a Federal Communications Commission report.

Correction to the mistake took 38 long minutes for the authorities to send a follow up message that the emergency alert was false.

Those details emerged on Tuesday in reports on investigations about how the agency mistakenly blasted cellphones and broadcast stations with the missile warning. Good morning, Marci. He feels so bad that in the week since he has barely been able to eat or sleep.

In the wake of the incident, the head of the Emergency Management Agency and its executive officer have also resigned. Officials revealed that the employee who sent the alert was sacked on 26 January.

He also said protocols for the drills he was involved in changed each time. "I did what I was trained to do", he said.

However, the former state worker said those two previous incidents were essentially "paperwork" issues, not errant alerts.

According to federal officials, he has refused to co-operate with investigators beyond submitting a written statement. He said he was not trying to impede any investigations: "There really wasn't anything else to say".

The employee "had a history of confusing drill and real-world events", Oliveira said.

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