This month, Hawaiian officials sent out a false emergency text message warning residents of an incoming ballistic missile. Following the false alert, Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency tweeted a press conference would be held soon after, stating, “Press conference on missile launch at 1 pm today at the Emergency Operating Center. #hawaiiema”
Not only was the initial alert false, but the state’s EMA then incorrectly stated a missile was the culprit, while announcing a presser about the screw up.
On Thursday, ABC News reported the mystery employee behind the debacle has suddenly refused to cooperate with federal investigators.
ABC News reports:
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee who mistakenly sent out a mobile alert warning of an incoming ballistic missile is refusing to cooperate with the Federal Communications Commission investigation, an FCC official said Thursday on Capitol Hill.
At a hearing with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Lisa Fowlkes, the head of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau at the FCC, said the federal agency is pleased with the cooperation from leadership in Hawaii, but disappointed in the refusal from the key employee.
“We share FCC Public Safety Bureau Chief Lisa Fowlkes’s disappointment,” Hawaii Emergency Management said in a statement to Congress.
“The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has encouraged its employees to cooperate in all ongoing investigations. While cooperation is in the end a matter of choice for each individual, we hope that anyone who is not cooperating will reconsider and assist in bringing these matters to a satisfactory conclusion.”
The false alarm has led many to question the department’s “effectiveness.”
Following the incident, Hawaii Governor David Ige tweeted, “The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency is committed to protecting the people of Hawai‘i, and over the past year it has been taking responsible measures to prepare for the highly unlikely event of a missile attack.”
“As a state government, we must learn from this unfortunate error and continue to prepare for any safety threat to Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors – whether it is a man-made threat or a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tsunami.”
As a state government, we must learn from this unfortunate error and continue to prepare for any safety threat to Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors – whether it is a man-made threat or a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tsunami.
— Office of the Governor, State of Hawai`i (@GovHawaii) January 14, 2018