Hawaii man says he's devastated about sending missile alert

Casey Dawson
February 4, 2018

"I was convinced it was real". The former employee blames what happened on a failure of the system that cost him his job of more than 11 years and led to death threats insisting he is not to blame.

The fired employee responsible for sending out an emergency ballistic missile alert that froze the U.S. state of Hawaii for 38 minutes last month says he feels awful about what happened.

"I was 100 percent sure that it was real and I did what I was trained to do", he said.

The unnamed man said he is still receiving death threats, was sacked after the state completed its investigation into the January 13 incident.

As soon as he realized his error, the man says he 'just wanted to crawl under a rock'.

He added: "I feel very badly for what's happened - the panic, the stress people felt, all the hurt and pain". I feel that myself. It was very, very hard, very emotional.

About two weeks later, the Federal Communications Commission said the worker who mistakenly sent the alert was not cooperating with an investigation looking into what went wrong. He mistakenly sent out a warning of an impending missile attack.

The man said this time he never heard "exercise, exercise, exercise" over the secure phone for emergencies because someone picked up the handset before transferring it to a speaker. Gen. Moses Kaoiwi, director of joint staff with the Hawaii National Guard, as interim agency administrator.

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He also said protocols for the drills he was involved in changed each time.

The former HI-EMA employee says that statement is inaccurate.

The Jan. 13 alert was sent out to over 1 million people via cell phones and caused a mass hysteria among the locals, who already feared a nuclear attack by North Korea, thanks to the hate-mongering rhetoric of President Donald Trump.

Managers did not require a second person to sign off on alerts before they were sent and the agency lacked any preparation on how to correct a false warning.

Oliviera said the employee had been working at HEMA for 10 years and had a history of work performance issues.

The button pusher say he's been dealing with the fallout and calls it an utter hell - causing him problems with eating, sleeping and is now on medication.

A preliminary investigation by the FCC, which oversees all USA wireless alert systems, found the system for activating a missile alert and conducting emergency drills was deeply flawed, lacking sufficient clarity, fail-safe controls or even a pre-programmed way of issuing a false alarm notice to the public.

Granting his first interviews since the scary January 13 debacle, the employee said his decision to push a panic button that alerted Hawaiians of an impending attack was no accident - he really believed it.

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