This week Hawaii finally fired the employee who issued a false missile alert warning to the entire state, while the head of the state’s emergency management agency resigned, another official quit, and a fourth was suspended over the incident. But new details also emerged about the incident:
After alerting workers on the wrong shift, the night supervisor “had started the drill by calling the day shift warning officers, who had not been told there was to be an exercise, and pretending to be U.S. Pacific Command,” reports the Guardian, citing the FCC’s investigation. The investigation confirmed that his script for the drill included the phrase “this is not a drill” (though it also began and ended with the words “exercise, exercise, exercise.”)
The New York Daily News reports that the warning officer missed those words “because someone in the office picked up the receiver instead of hitting the speaker.” And he insists that “I’m really not to blame in this. It was a system failure. And I did what I was trained to do. I can’t say that I would do anything differently based on what I saw and heard.” His lawyer adds that “The place was a circus and they got their scapegoat… All that was missing were clowns and balloons.”
The fired worker now plans to sue the state of Hawaii for defamation, and possibly also for libel and slander, according to his lawyer, “because they lied about what happened.” He also says that his client has already received numerous death threats.
Washington Post audience editor says the incident happened “because Hawaii rewards incompetence,” noting the employee behind the missile alert “had a history of performance problems and had been ‘a source of concern,'” adding that the FCC reported that previously the employee “has confused real life events and drills on at least two separate occasions.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.