Hawaii man says he's devastated about sending missile alert

The unidentified worker who sent a ballistic missile threat message in Hawaii appeared on NBC Nightly News on Feb. 2 2018

The unidentified worker who sent a ballistic missile threat message in Hawaii appeared on NBC Nightly News on Feb. 2 2018

The man who sent the false ballistic missile alert in Hawaii said he isn't to blame for the mishap and would not have done anything differently.

The worker, who is in his 50s, further continued while speaking to reporters on terms of anonymity as he is fearing threats, "I don't think they're prepared for missile notifications", he said, CBS affiliate KGMB reports.

The drill began on the morning of January 13 as the man, who had been with the agency for 11 1/2 years, according to his lawyer, and his coworkers were just logging on to their computers at the beginning of their shifts, he said. However, state officials said other workers clearly heard the word "exercise" repeated several times.

The worker, who was sacked from his job at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency following the false alarm, said, "It was incredibly hard for me, very emotional" and he "just wanted to crawl under a rock".

But the emergency worker, who has been fired, claims he "didn't hear "exercise" at all in that whole transmission". He was also said to have had a "poor performance" on the job, in a separate state report.

It took almost 40 minutes for the agency to figure out a way to retract the false alert on the same platforms it was sent to.

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The man said he heard the words "This is not a drill" in a voice he did not recognize and reacted as he was trained to do.

"Immediately afterward, we find out it was a drill and I was devastated", the man said. "I didn't hear exercise at all in the message or from my co-workers".

A Federal Communications Commission report found that the emergency worker did in fact actually believe the threat was real. "Exercise! Exercise!" But the warning also included "This is not a drill", in a script federal regulators say deviated from established procedure.

Correction to the mistake took 38 long minutes for the authorities to send a follow up message that the emergency alert was false. It was a sense of urgency to put it in place as soon as possible. Gen. Bruce Oliveira shared details of the state's probe and said when the mistake was realized, the employee "froze" and "seemed confused".

The administrator and executive officer of the states's Emergency Management Agency stepped down last Tuesday, after the report on its failures was released. The state did not name him. The agency's top official, Vern Miyagi, has since resigned. "It was a system failure", said the man.

The fallout over the incident didn't stop with the former worker. He said he was not trying to impede any investigations: "There really wasn't anything else to say".

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