The following is an excerpt from ADAM NAGOURNEY, DAVID E. SANGER and JOHANNA BARR | January 13, 2018 | Nytimes.com |
An early-morning emergency alert mistakenly warning of an incoming ballistic missile attack was dispatched to cellphones across Hawaii on Saturday, setting off widespread panic in a state that was already on edge because of escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.
The alert, sent by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, was revoked 38 minutes after it was issued, prompting confusion over why it was released — and why it took so long to rescind. State officials and residents of a normally tranquil part of the Pacific, as well as tourists swept up in the panic, immediately expressed outrage.
“What happened today was totally unacceptable,” said Gov. David Y. Ige. “Many in our community were deeply affected by this. I am sorry for that pain and confusion that anyone might have experienced.”
Officials said the alert was the result of human error and not the work of hackers or a foreign government. The mistake occurred during a shift-change drill that takes place three times a day at the emergency command post, according to Richard Rapoza, a spokesman for the agency.
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