Hawaii gov. reveals surprising reason for delay in correcting false missile alert


HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. David Ige said he and his team took so long to post a message to social media about the recent missile alert being a false alarm because he didn’t know his Twitter username and password. Ige told reporters Monday he has since put his username and password into his cellphone. He says he can now use social media without waiting for his staff. 

The governor was asked why his Twitter account relayed a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweet about the false alarm at 8:24 a.m. on Jan. 13 even though Ige learned about the mistake 15 minutes earlier at 8:09 a.m.

Ige’s communications staff members manage his social media accounts, as is the case with many politicians.

Ige spokeswoman Cindy McMillan said Friday the governor had to track her down to prepare a message for the public before they could post anything.

Hawaii officials face widespread criticism over the false alarm after more than one million cellphones in Hawaii began buzzing with a warning about an imminent missile attack earlier this month, at 8:07 a.m. on a Saturday, saying, “Seek immediate shelter — this is not a drill.” State officials canceled the alert at 8:13, six minutes later., but they didn’t send a new cellphone message for another half hour, at 8:45. 

During that time, people flooded the streets in fear across the state, searching for cover under threat of a nuclear attack. Honolulu’s 911 system received 5,500 calls. The head of the FCC, which is investigating, called the error “absolutely unacceptable.”

The false alert was accidentally sent out from Hawaii’s Emergency Operations Center. It was human error, made during a routine test of the emergency warning system. 

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