Official: Missile alert employee not cooperating in probe
The Hawaii state employee who mistakenly sent an alert warning of a ballistic missile attack has refused to cooperate with federal and state investigators, a U.S. official said Thursday.
HONOLULU - One click, one alert and 38 minutes of terror in Hawaii.
That terror has turned to anger, much of it directed at an emergency management employee that mistakenly sent out that false missile alert.
This revelation at a hearing on Capitol Hill probably won't help.
"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," Sen. Brian Schatz said.
That employee has not been named.
Hawaii's Department of Defense says he provided a written statement shortly after the incident, and has nothing more to add.
"That person" is still employed with HI-EMA , but has no access to the warning system.
DOD Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Charles Anthony issued the following response:
"We share FCC Public Safety Bureau Chief Lisa Fowlkes's disappointment. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has encouraged its employees to cooperate in all ongoing investigations, and while each individual makes a personal choice, we hope anyone who is not cooperating will reconsider and help to bring these matters to a satisfactory conclusion."
Sen. Schatz ran the hearing, and pushed for new protocol and a clear chain of command.
"Human and bureaucratic errors made the incident worse but there are also inherent flaws in the system itself," he said.
"Did the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency need FEMA to sign off on a correction to the first push notification?" Schatz asked.
"No. They did not need permission from either FEMA or the FCC," Lisa Fowlkes, head of the Federal Communications Commission Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau said.
Schatz announced he is introducing legislation to make it clear that the authority to send out missile alerts should rest with the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
"A missile attack is federal, a missile attack is not a local responsibility," Schatz said.
The FCC's investigation is still ongoing.
Another hearing on the false missile alert will be held in Hawaii.