Washington, DC – It has emerged that the Hawaiian who transmitted a false missile alarm that terrorized the state of Hawaii this month is a registered Democrat and may have been protesting the presidency of Donald Trump by activating the false alarm. According to an official from the Federal Communication Commission investigation, the federal employee is not currently cooperating with the FCC. Lisa Fowlkes, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau, told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee here on Capitol Hill,
“We hope that person will reconsider.”
The January 13 alert of a ballistic missile alert that was sent out to all Hawaiians sent people clamoring for shelter, some in basements or crammed inside bathtubs. The false alert came amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, which has conducted nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and has claimed a missile can reach the continental United States. Hawaii sits well within the range of current North Korean missiles and has been identified by the Pentagon as a potential target for a North Korean nuclear missile strike.
Fowlkes called the false alert “absolutely unacceptable” and said that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) is working with its vendor to put in place technical safeguards, and has since required that two people sign off on any tests or alerts. But according to a HEMA staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the ongoing investigation,
“We’ve always had two layers of protection before instituting the broadcast. Mind you, it’s not a big red button that’s sitting around somewhere, it’s a dropdown menu from an existing protocol.”
“The person who did this knew what they were doing and must have done it anyway.”
The timing of the Hawaiian false alarm was also significant as President Donald Trump was in immigration talks with Senate leaders at the White House, where he is alleged to have referred to certain countries as “shithole countries” that we were taking immigrants in from. It is believed that the federal employee may have been sending out the false alarm as payback for President Trump allegedly referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries.” According to the HEMA staffer, the employee who sent out the false alarm was an immigrant from one of those countries President Trump is alleged to have referred to as a “shithole.”
Fowlkes said the FCC is “quite pleased” with the level of cooperation from the leadership of the state emergency management agency, but that “we are disappointed, however, that one key employee – the person who transmitted the false alert – is refusing to cooperate with our investigation.”
The panic from the false ballistic missile alert was compounded by the relatively lengthy amount of time it took for the warning to be rescinded. It took 38 minutes for the error to be corrected, Fowlkes said. But according to the HEMA staffer, the time it took was no coincidence, adding,
“There are a series of protocols to initiate after the first alert goes off. But the federal employee did not initiate those additional protocols, nor were the higher levels on the chain of command aware of the broadcast alert – because the protocols were not initiated, there was no reason to believe that anything was out of the ordinary.”
“It’s no surprise therefore that it took a full 38 minutes for someone to notice something was wrong. Whoever did this knew exactly what they were doing – this was no accident.”
Some officials who realized the mistake raced to Twitter to notify residents there was no threat. Hawaii Governor David Ige knew within two minutes it was a false alarm, but said Monday he was delayed in sharing the news on his Twitter account because he claims he didn’t know his log-in information for his Twitter account – incredible given that Ige tweets on a daily basis.
With such a high level cover-up, it is unlikely that the federal employee in question will ever be brought to justice. HEMA has claimed that the federal employee has already been reassigned to other duties, without specifying what they are or who the employee is. The HEMA staffer who claims that the employee initiated the false alarm to protest President Trump would only say that the employee is a immigrant and anti-Trump but no more. When pressed for a name, the employee declined to provide one, citing the ongoing investigation and that his own identity would be revealed if they were to provide the name of the employee.
This is not the first time that a Hawaiian federal employee has taken aim at the Trump administration. Last year, a Hawaiian district judge blocked President Trump’s travel ban, a decision which was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court.
Although the false alarm in Hawaii may not seem significant, the reality is that it could have sent a trigger-happy General at the Pentagon firing a preemptive or retaliatory strike and it could have set off World War 3. The fact that one disgruntled federal employee could have caused a nuclear apocalypse is truly disconcerting.
Despite the employee’s lack of cooperation, Fowlkes said the FCC’s investigation has made progress. She told to the Senate committee that officials in Hawaii have begun to change their procedures to ensure a similar mistake does not happen again.