Hawaiian officials say tests for their state's alert system are suspended until all concerns about its reliability are addressed.
"The governor has directed that we hold off any more tests until we get this squared away," Hawaii Emergency Management Agency administrator Vern Miyagi said hours after Hawaiians went into a panic Saturday when they received a false alert warning of an inbound ballistic missile alarm.
Local officials and the U.S. Pacific Command quickly confirmed that the emergency alert was sent out in error to residents of the island chain, which recently tested out a Cold War-era nuclear warning siren in response to North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programs.
However, it took nearly 40 minutes for the state of Hawaii to send out a corrective message.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige, who has apologized for the "pain and confusion" caused by the mishap, said it was a state employee "pushed the wrong button" to send out a false alert during a shift change.
While officials didn't identify who pressed the "button," Miyagi has said it was his "responsibility."
Vern Miyagi on Hawaii missile alert mistake: "It's a human error. There is a screen that says, 'are you sure you want to do this.' That's already in place. We had one person, human error, that it was pushed anyway." pic.twitter.com/lLkcD9v3YH— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 13, 2018
Ige and Miyagi announced in the early afternoon that changes are already underway, including a "two-person rule" for any drill or for the sending of an actual alert. Another action taken by the government was to implement a "cancellation command that can be done automatically that can be triggered within seconds of an error, has been put in place."
Amid public outcry over the incident, the Hawaiian government also released a timeline of what transpired after the false alarm:
Approx. 8:05 a.m. – A routine internal test during a shift change was initiated. This was a test that involved the Emergency Alert System, the Wireless Emergency Alert, but no warning sirens.
8:07 a.m. – A warning test was triggered statewide by the State Warning Point, HI-EMA.
8:10 a.m. – State Adjutant Maj. Gen. Joe Logan, validated with the U.S. Pacific Command that there was no missile launch. Honolulu Police Department notified of the false alarm by HI-EMA.
8:13 a.m. – State Warning Point issues a cancellation of the Civil Danger Warning Message. This would have prevented the initial alert from being rebroadcast to phones that may not have received it yet. For instance, if a phone was not on at 8:07 a.m., if someone was out of range and has since came into cell coverage (Hikers, Mariners, etc.) and/or people getting off a plane.
8:20 a.m. – HI-EMA issues public notification of cancellation via their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
8:24 a.m. – Governor Ige retweets HI-EMA’s cancellation notice.
8:30 a.m. – Governor posts cancellation notification to his Facebook page.
8:45 a.m. – After getting authorization from FEMA Integral Public Alert and Warning System, HIEMA issued a “Civil Emergency Message” remotely.
The following action was executed by the Emergency Alert System (EAS):
1. EAS message over Local TV/Radio Audio Broadcast & Television Crawler Banner.
“False Alarm. There is no missile threat to Hawaii.”
“False Alarm. There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. There is no
missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. False Alarm.”
2. Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)
“False Alarm. There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii.”
9:30 a.m. – Governor makes initial media notification.
9:34 a.m. – Governor’s message posted to his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The state government's announcement came after one of Hawaii's U.S. senators called for his state's alert system to be suspended until all concerns about its reliability are addressed.
Holy hell this is terrifying.This is the exact moment the Hawaii Emergency Alert System for the Ballistic Missile alert interrupted Hawaiian TV. #Hawaii #BallisticMissle #EAS pic.twitter.com/gzLCBgqHVG— Chris Strider (@stridinstrider) January 13, 2018
"We must suspend this alert system until we can be 100 percent confident in its reliability," Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said in a tweet that was then deleted as Ige's press conference was underway.
The Washington Examiner reached out to Schatz's office for an explanation about why the tweet was removed.
Schatz also took issue with how long it took for Hawaii to address its false flag.
"The fact that state government knew it was a false alarm and then took between 30 and 40 minutes to inform the rest of the public is just an abomination," Schatz told CNN.
Schatz says he spoke to Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, who announced earlier in the day that his agency is conducting a "full investigation" into the early-morning mishap.
"Just got off the phone w @AjitPaiFCC and glad they are going to work with us on developing best practices on the communications side for states and municipalities to make sure this never happens again," Schatz said. "This system failed miserably and we need to start over."
Schatz, who called the mistake "totally inexcusable" and one that had the whole state "terrified," is one of many elected officials calling for answers and reforms.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, condemned President Trump on Saturday for “taking too long” to quell escalating tensions with North Korea. She said during an interview on CNN that said her constituents “live with the reality of this message popping up on their phones” at any moment because of the rising conflict between the U.S. and Pyongyang.
HAWAII - THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE. pic.twitter.com/DxfTXIDOQs— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018
The Hawaiian government said it was also examining whether to expand notification processes for the state's congressional delegations, county mayors, and key staff.
"A formal preliminary report of findings and corrective actions will be issued next week," the government said.