Hawaii missile alert: FCC launches investigation into false ballistic missile warning

Updated Jan 13, 2018 4:29 PM EST

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is launching a “full investigation” into the false alarm that told Hawaii residents a ballistic missile threat was approaching, an error that sent the island into chaos. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced on Twitter Saturday afternoon that the FCC is looking into the matter. It’s unclear how long the investigation might take, and what it will entail. 

President Trump was golfing at his Florida course on Saturday, when Hawaii residents received an “Emergency Alert” that said: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” It took 38 long minutes before residents in Hawaii received another alert clarifying the that the previous alert was incorrect, and they were not in danger. 

“The president has been briefed on the state of Hawaii’s emergency management exercise,” a White House official told CBS News. “This was purely a state (controlled) exercise.”

For Hawaii, located about 4,600 miles away from North Korea, living in the shadows of a nuclear threat is becoming a reality.

The alert, Hawaii Gov. David Ige told CNN, was due to someone pushing the “wrong button.” 

Ige said the incorrect alert, “was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift and an employee pushed the wrong button.”

But the incorrect alert, the length of time it took to officially correct that alert, and whether federal, state and local authorities would be prepared in the event of a real missile threat has members of Congress and other government officials demanding answers and change. Ige will brief Hawaii’s congressional delegation Saturday afternoon.

Sen. Mazie Hirona, D-Hawaii, said the they “need to get to the bottom of what happened and make sure it never happens again.”

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