False missile alert had potential to be ‘totally catastrophic,’ Hirono says
  • Saturday, May 25, 2019
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False missile alert had potential to be ‘totally catastrophic,’ Hirono says

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Sen. Mazie Hirono questioned Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, today, in Washington.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says the agency will be working with states to follow proper protocols when issuing safety alerts and can quickly retract incorrect alerts like Hawaii’s warning of a ballistic missile over the weekend.

Sen Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, says it’s clear that human error initiated the false alert.

But she worries that system failures allowed it to go uncorrected for too long, nearly 40 minutes.

Hirono says “this had the potential for being totally catastrophic.”

Nielsen told a Senate panel today the department had been unaware that Hawaii officials did not have a mechanism in place to address false alarms and retract them.

She also says the Department of Homeland Security is examining how the U.S. government can quickly verify the accuracy of alerts with agencies such as the Department of Defense.

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