(BIVN) – The unidentified state emergency management employee who mistakenly issued the false missile alert that frightened Hawaii on January 13 is not cooperating with federal investigators, an FCC representative says.
Lisa Fowlkes, the Bureau Chief for Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission, made the allegation during Thursday’s Senate Committee hearing titled, “This is Not a Drill: An Examination of Emergency Alert Systems,” held in Washington D.C.
Fowlkes told the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that although they “are quite pleased with the level of cooperation we have received from the leadership of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, thus far,” the FCC is “disappointed however, that one key employee – the person that transmitted the false alert – is refusing to cooperate in our investigation. We hope that person will reconsider.”
Fowlkes told the Senate Committee that the false alert “was absolutely unacceptable.”
“It resulted in widespread panic, and the extended period it took to correct the error – nearly 40 minutes – compounded the problem,” Fowlkes testified. “Looking beyond the immediate consequences of the mistake, which were serious in and of themselves, this cry of “wolf” damaged the credibility of alert messaging, which can be dangerous when a real emergency occurs.”
Fowlkes said the FCC acted swiftly in the wake of the incident to open an investigation into the matter. “That investigation is ongoing,” Fowlkes said. “we had investigators on the ground in Hawaii just last week, but based on information gathered to date, it appears that the false alert was issued as a result of both human error and the state having insufficient safeguards and process controls in place to prevent that human error from resulting in the transmission of a false alert.”
Big Island Video News will have more from this hearing at this tag: Jan 25, 2018 Senate Hearing