Officials fire worker who sent Hawaii missile false alarm
In a statement to investigators, the staffer wrote that he was convinced that an actual attack was underway, he sent a warning about a ballistic missile to Hawaii.
HONOLULU – Hawaii’s nuclear missile scare, and showed that the state began with the testing of warnings for the full development of a plan to address the threat of ballistic missiles and that a public information campaign months earlier was not effective, according to a report released Tuesday.
The state of the Ministry of Defence, the agency that oversees Hawaii’s emergency management has internal review after an alert is sent to mobile phones, televisions and radio stations around the country over the past month.
The notice, which read “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INCOMING TO HAWAII. IMMEDIATELY SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL”, caused widespread panic when there are more than a million residents and visitors feared they were faced with a ballistic missile strike.
Gov. David Ige assigned Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara, the second in rank at the Ministry of Defence, for the conduct of a comprehensive evaluation of the functioning of the agency.
“The response and recovery components of the plan were at least developed,” Hara’s report said. “The plan lacked clear details for the reception, county coordination and protocols for the decision to send out all clear or false missile alert messages, for example, the intercept, missile-effect, without effect, to Hawaii, etc.”
The audience came there is not enough instructions about what to do, the report said.
A temporary agency worker mistakenly sent the alert to mobile phones and radio stations across the country during a shift-change analysis on the desk of Jan. 13.
Officials later announced the employee does not think that he and his colleagues participated in an exercise and believed in the place of a real attack is coming. The state has since fired him.
State officials said the employee, who works for the agency for 11 years, had erroneously supposed two prior exercises — for tsunami and fire warnings were of the actual events. His supervisors advised him, but loved him for a decade in a position that had to be renewed each year.
The ex-employee disputed that, saying he was not aware of any problems with the performance. The employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared for his safety after receiving death threats, told reporters that he was devastated about causing panic, but was “100 percent sure” at the time that the attack was real.
Some managers do not follow the correct procedures to deal with unsatisfactory performance, which have contributed to the false report, according to the report.
Hara is the report recommends the development of employees training for supervisors and managers.
The agency of the administrator, Vern Miyagi, resigned on Jan. 30. The agency executive officer, Toby Clairmont, dismissal down soon after the incident, because it was clear action would be taken against agency leaders, he said.
A fourth employee was suspended without pay.
It took the agency in 38 minutes to send a follow-up message drives and mobile phones to notice people the warning was a mistake, in part because the agency had not prepared a message to send, in the case of a false alarm.
Within hours of the notification, the agency changed protocols in order to start requires that two people send an alert. It also made it easier to cancel the warnings by the preparation of a pre-set false alarm message.
The recommendations of the report such as suspension of all activities related to the Ballistic Missiles of Preparedness Campaign, with the exception of the monthly ballistic missile alert tone siren test, until a plan is published, and the majority of Hawaii public know “what to do, where to go, and when to do it.”
It also calls for testing the feasibility of reinstituting “fallout shelters.” Hawaii stopped with the maintenance of such shelters after the Cold War ended and the funding ran out.
Although inspired by the rocket scare, the report provides recommendations on the dangers of the islands face. Because Hawaii is based on almost all goods which should be imported, the report recommends the improvement of the ports and the expansion of the distribution infrastructure, but notes it will be expensive and time consuming.