undergroundnewsroom.com March 23, 2018

FCC Report: Worker who sent false missile alert thought attack was real

31 January 2018, 09:41 | Damon Campbell

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

"But those protocols were not developed to the point they should have", retired Brig.

Previous to the report, the assumption was that the alert had been sent in error, and focus turned on the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency's bad user interface on its computer systems.

Hawaii's state emergency manager resigned Tuesday after officials said a recent false alarm warning of an incoming missile was triggered by an employee who got confused during an unplanned drill and thought the state was really under attack.

UPDATE: 11:30 a.m.

In a separate action Tuesday, the FCC voted to approve new requirements created to enhance the geo-targeting of mobile phone alerts.

The warning-system officer was sacked and a mid-level manager at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) has been suspended. I, too, am extremely upset about this and am doing everything I can do to immediately improve our emergency management systems, procedures and staffing, ' he said.

By 8:20 a.m., Hawaii EMA tweeted there was "NO missile threat" to the state, but failed to send a follow-up phone alert for another 38 minutes, causing mass panic among people who weren't able to check social media.

30, that the individual who sent the false alert refused to talk to the agency, but provided a written statement. The fired worker had been on paid leave after the false alarm.

"Other warning officers who heard the recording in the watch center report that they knew that the erroneous incoming message did not indicate a real missile threat, but was supposed to indicate the beginning of an exercise", the report said.

The fired employee later incorrectly activated the "real-world" alert code. But the supervisor also erroneously said, "This is not a drill". It was announced last week that Clairmont would retire sometime this year, however no date was given.

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An alert circulated on the U.S. state's mobile phone networks triggered mass panic when it announced: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii".

In remarks supporting a preliminary report by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), attorney adviser James Wiley said "a combination of human error and inadequate safeguards contributed to this false alert", and detailed the sequence of events which lead to that state-wide panic.

Originally, the alert was blamed on the worker selecting the wrong option from a drop-down menu. The recording otherwise used language that is typically used for a real threat, including the words: "This is not a drill".

The agency's day-shift warning officer heard "this is not a drill", but not "exercise, exercise, exercise", according to the statement the officer provided to state officials, while declining to answer their questions. But the rest of the message, which was not in accordance with the Hawaii EMA's standard operating procedures and was a recording for "an actual live ballistic missile alert", also said, "this is not a drill". It thus included the sentence "this is not a drill". The recording ended by repeating the word exercise again three times. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asked for an investigation following the event. He responded by sending the alert.

The employee who sent off the alarm has not been publicly identified, but HI-EMA officials said they were terminated and had been a "source of concern".

A second casualty of the slip-up is Vern Miyagi, a retired major general with the U.S. Army, who was the administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency at the time of the January 13 false alert.

General Logan said a second worker quit before disciplinary action was taken and another was being suspended without pay.

FCC said it will continue its investigation and issue a final report, including recommended measures to safeguard against false alerts and to mitigate their harmful effects if they do occur. Gen. Joe Logan and retired Brig.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency officials work at the department's command centre in Honolulu on December 1, 2017.

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