clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Hawaii emergency worker behind false missile alert said he thought the state was really under attack

Image: Tulsi Gabbard

The emergency alert worker who sent a false ballistic missile alert to Hawaii residents told officials that he believed the state was actually under attack, according to a preliminary report from the FCC.

The FCC’s report is a bizarre development in the incident, which left people scrambling after receiving a message about incoming missiles. After the false alert, the state attributed the incident to an accident, and said the worker had selected the wrong option in a drop-down menu.

The FCC said in its report that the incident happened during a shift change. The midnight shift worker played a recording over the phone to day shift workers that included language used for a drill — “EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE” — but also the live alert message, “THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

The state has previously been clear that it believed the alert was sent accidentally, and even went so far as to distribute diagrams outlining the menu options, to demonstrate the source of confusion.

In a report released by the state itself later in the day, officials noted the employees statement, but also said several other people in the room had correctly identified the situation as a drill. The employee, according to the report, had similar problems identifying drills in the past. He’s now been fired from his job at the emergency management agency, officials said.

Update, January 30, 4:40 PM ET: Includes information from state’s report.