President Donald Trump praised Hawaii officials for taking responsibility for Saturday morning’s panic-inducing alert that mistakenly warned of an incoming ballistic missile.
“I love that they took responsibility,” the president told reporters who asked about his reaction to the Hawaii false alarm. “I think it’s terrific. They took responsibility. They made a mistake,” he said as he arrived for dinner at his Florida golf club Sunday evening.
Without explanation, he added, “we’re going to get involved.”
Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, criticized Hawaii on Sunday for the false alarm, saying that an FCC investigation into the incident is underway. “Based on the information we have collected so far, it appears that the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert,” he said.
At 8:07 a.m. Saturday, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent out a cell phone alert saying, “BALLISTIC MISSILE INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” The mistaken alert was corrected via email and social media by 8:25 a.m., but it took 38 minutes from the initial alert for the state to retract the error via another cell phone message, which was how most people in the islands were notified about the bogus missile attack.
The false alarm caused widespread panic across the islands over those 38 minutes.
Gov. David Ige and EMA administrator Vern Miyagi later said that “human error” was to blame for the false alarm. They apologized and vowed to make changes to ensure that such an error never happens again.