The official who mistakenly sent a false missile alert in the Hawaiian Islands earlier this month is reportedly refusing to cooperate with investigators.
While Hawaii Emergency Management Agency officials are working with federal and internal investigators, the Homeland Security Bureau chief of the Federal Communications Commission, Lisa Fowlkes, noted the unidentified official has refused to work with two internal HI-EMA investigations as well as with the FCC, The Star Advertiser reported.
“We are quite pleased with the level of cooperation we have received from the leadership of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency thus far,” Lisa Fowlkes testified Thursday at a Senate hearing on the incident. “We are disappointed, however, that one key employee, the person who transmitted the false alert, is refusing to cooperate with our investigation. We hope that person will reconsider.”
The infamous “button-pusher” triggered chaos on Januray 13 after accidentally alerting more than a million people in Hawaii that a nuclear missile strike was imminent. HI-EMA officials sent another alert 38 minutes later confirming the false alarm.
Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony, a spokesman for Hawaii’s Department of Defense, which overseas HI-EMA, explained that the unidentified “warning officer” was temporarily reassigned within the agency but hasn’t returned to work since the incident. The union employee faces possible disciplinary action including losing his employment.
“Initially he did provide a statement of his actions that day, but now he is not cooperating,” Anthony said. “He’s choosing not to have further engagement with other employees at the Emergency Management Agency who have attempted to reach out to him.”
Sen. Brian Schatz is pressing for legislation to authorize the Department of Defense and Homeland Security to be in charge of sending missile alerts in the future.
“A missile attack is federal,” Schatz said. “A missile attack is not a local responsibility. Confirmation and notification of something like a missile attack should reside with the agency that knows first and knows for sure, in other words the people who know should be the people who tell us.
As the lead Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, I just wanted to let you know that the Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing today examining emergency alert systems and later this year, I will convene a field hearing in Honolulu to review Hawaii’s false missile alert. WATCH:
Posted by Senator Brian Schatz on Thursday, January 25, 2018
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