How One Employee "Pushed The Wrong Button" And Unleashed Doomsday Panic Across Hawaii

Shortly before panicked Hawaiians stuffed children into storm drains and said their goodbyes on the morning of January 13, an unnamed employee at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (H-EMA) accidentally selected the wrong dropdown menu choice, resulting in a live broadcast to the cell phones of Hawaii residents and tourists which read “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL," according to officials. 

Here is what happened, according to the Washington Post

Around 8:05 a.m., the Hawaii emergency employee initiated the internal test, according to a timeline released by the state. From a drop-down menu on a computer program, he saw two options: “Test missile alert” and “Missile alert.” He was supposed to choose the former; as much of the world now knows, he chose the latter, an initiation of a real-life missile alert.

At 8:07, the alert went out, with a more detailed message scrolling across television screens, reading: 

"Civil authority has issued A CIVIL DANGER WARNING for the following counties or areas: Hawaii: At 8:07 AM on Jan 13, 2018... Message from IPAWSCAP. The U.S. Pacific Command has detected a missile threat to Hawaii. A missile may impact on land or sea within minutes. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. If you are indoors, stay indoors. If you are outdoors, seek immediate shelter in a building. Remain indoors well away from windows. If you are driving, pull safely to the side of the road and seek shelter in a building or lay on the floor."

Of note, US PACOM was not involved whatsoever.

38 minutes later, a wireless alert went out letting people know "There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm."




By then it was too late: the fake warning had ignited mass panic among residents - many of whom thought they had minutes to live. One resident had a little girl get into a manhole during the threat. 


Authorities were apologetic, with Governor David Ige (D) apologizing for the "pain and confusion" caused by accidentally telling millions of people death was imminent, saying in a press conference "a mistake made during a standard procedure at the changeover of a shift and an employee pushed the wrong button."

The following day, there were far more questions than answers. Brand new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the alert was "absolutely unacceptable," and that a full investigation was underway. Pai seemed to initially lay blame at state officials for the mistake. 

“Based on the information we have collected so far, it appears that the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert,” said Pai, adding “Federal, state, and local officials throughout the country need to work together to identify any vulnerabilities to false alerts and do what’s necessary to fix them. We also must ensure that corrections are issued immediately in the event that a false alert does go out.”

Technical Difficulties

A major factor in the 38 minute gap between the erroneous warning and the subsequent "false alarm" alert was the fact that while the state has permission from FEMA to issue the emergency broadcast, there is no system in place to send out a subsequent "false alarm" alert. 

“We had to double back and work with FEMA [to craft and approve the false alarm alert] and that’s what took time,” said HEMA spokesman Richard Rapoza.

Rapoza says that has now been remedied with a cancellation option that can be selected within seconds of a mistake. “In the past there was no cancellation button. There was no false alarm button at all,” Rapoza said. “Now there is a command to issue a message immediately that goes over on the same system saying ‘It’s a false alarm. Please disregard.’ as soon as the mistake is identified.”

The Emergency Management Agency also said it suspended all drills until the completion of their investigation, as well as a "two-person activation/verification rule" to initiate tests and missile launch notifications. 

According to the Washington Post, "The agency said it would issue a preliminary report of findings and corrective actions next week. The employee in question has been temporarily reassigned, Rapoza said, but there are no plans to fire him.

“Part of the problem was it was too easy — for anyone — to make such a big mistake,” Rapoza said. “We have to make sure that we’re not looking for retribution, but we should be fixing the problems in the system. . . . I know that it’s a very, very difficult situation for him.”

Poor guy. Doesn't he know he accidentally wiped a perfectly good Uranium One related indictment off the headlines? Oops! 


Socratic Dog HowdyDoody Mon, 01/15/2018 - 13:40 Permalink

More to this than that.  This is from Moon of Alabama.  Action precedes the official timeline.

Many of us did not receive a missile attack
message at all. This was not due to lack of
cell phone reception. Their phones worked,
but they were not alerted. They also use
the same provider.
Then, alert messages were different. Some
said that the ballistic missile threat
would expire at 6pm. Right.

Here are my own experiences. You be the

Driving towards Pahoa and reaching the
High School intersection, I saw cops
coming from the Kalapana direction with
lights and sirens on. They stopped at
every pulled over vehicle to talk to
the driver.
Then they turned into Pahoa road and
I also pulled to the side of the road,
thinking whom they are after this time.

I had just turned down the radio, where
HPR had started the news. That was at
8:01 AM.

The cop told me (both of his windows were
rolled down):
"The guy in North Korea has fired three 
missiles at us. You should go home and
stay with your family."
He drove off to Paul's gas station to
talk to other drivers. His co-cop did
the same at the propane place.

My first thought was "That's bullshit."
Cops driving around talking to folks
individually while the ICBM's are
homing in. It would take those things
20 minutes to hit their target.

Fuck that shit, I am going to have
breakfast as intended. Should that
be true, I had at least a last break fast.

At the store the news had already created
panic among those who are easily manipulated.
The hysteria was quite impressive and my
reassuring them that things are okay went
in the one ear and out the other.

Mind you that I know these people for years
and I am well known for being level headed.

I get my breakfast and sit outside. A few
other guys are rolling in. Then, at 8:07 AM,
the emergency alert appears on our phones.
Those who knew, were all filled in by the
cops BEFORE the alert.

The alert caused the store to close. I did
my best to calm people down. Explaining to
them that they should listen to their body,
instead to anything the government says.
George Carlin's made that clear a long time

But people are now so disconnected from the
'Here and Now' have been so propagandized
and brainwashed, that they are incapable
to keep cool and THINK.

IF that would have been the real McCoy,
we would have had twenty minutes left
from the time the cops 'informed' people.

Then, when it became apparent that it was
bullshit, the cops drove around and appeared
to be taking license plates of those who did
not panic, but have breakfast instead.

Around 8:30 AM, Tulsi Gabbard's tweets had
made it around enough for people to calm
down somewhat.

The alert cancellation came at 8:45 AM.

In reply to by HowdyDoody

Things that go bump Citxmech Mon, 01/15/2018 - 17:22 Permalink

I don't know why they bother. There's nowhere for anyone to go for shelter unless you're the beneficiary of one of those '50s bomb shelters people put in back then. The government has prepared nothing for most of the population, although I understand they've built shelters for the elite among them. We're considered acceptable losses. It's actually unkind to issue a warning and cause panic when there's nothing to be done. What a bunch of sadists. My cousin was fortunate. She's retired and slept though the whole thing.

In reply to by Citxmech

techpriest Citxmech Mon, 01/15/2018 - 18:33 Permalink

I'm amazed that they actually allowed the system to be built in such a way that the test and real alerts are placed side by side. You should have separate panels in the software, such that it is absolutely clear what page you are on.

Imagine the scenario in reverse. A real missile is inbound, but they guy screws up and pushes the test button.

In reply to by Citxmech

Socratic Dog Socratic Dog Mon, 01/15/2018 - 13:52 Permalink

If legit, the post is enough evidence to know the whole thing was absolutely intentional.  Some sort of exercise. As we know, "exercises" seem to be accompanied by the real thing with uncommon frequency.  It's a marker for false flags.  If you're not wondering whether some serious shit wasn't actually happening over there, you belong on HuffPo, not the Hedge.

In reply to by Socratic Dog

major major ma… Socratic Dog Mon, 01/15/2018 - 15:20 Permalink

never got it... friends did... checked ZH first and nothing so new it was BS National Propaganda Radio, same thing.  called bs right then.  friends were trying to buy H2O at the Kwik-E-Mart but the fuckers kicked them out and locked the door (that made it a little real, not da missle).  Day went on as normal except a bunch of peeps trying to figure out what a ballistic missile is.  mid day saw a big fightin jet fly in to Hilo and a smaller passenger navy plane with propellers fly in like 10 min later.   Can't see HI being HIGH on NK list.  just some good data for da spooks, howeva it one happen.  

In reply to by Socratic Dog

lennysrv Socratic Dog Mon, 01/15/2018 - 18:22 Permalink

Most of the people in this world are fucking clueless sheep. They do what everyone else does.  They don't think for themselves. If a person does think for himself, doesn't follow the crowd, and pays attention to this little thing called "life", well, then, that person is branded a danger to society.

The hysteria in Hawaii is nothing short of embarrassing. The fools there should be ashamed that they acted they way they did. The guy who put his kid in the storm sewer should have his children taken away from him and placed in a family where someone has a functioning brain.

I'll bet FatBoy and his cadre of sycophants are laughing so hard that they're peeing themselves. We have become a nation of fucking pussies and the world knows it.

In reply to by Socratic Dog

inosent BokkeDavola Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:26 Permalink

That assumes you are familiar with the software and protocols. It is highly unlikely that this sort of thing would be a one screen event, given that just to purchase a $1 item online has a confirmation screen, even two.

It is also highly probable the state protocols require not only a second screen, but a second person. "bad software" ... you just earned a troll point on ZH. Congratulations!

In reply to by BokkeDavola

RovingGrokster BokkeDavola Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:48 Permalink

More to the point, having the test and real alerts in the same drop-down menu, is asking for a mis-click. Also, having a stereotype "Are you sure?" popup is asking for the average moron to click right through and realize his mistake afterwards.

Come on now - how many of us have shut down or rebooted something important by mistake because we thought the "Are you sure?" was a response to something different, like "Save configuration" or "Send coffee and donuts."

That's just plain bad software design by people who didn't think about the consequences of making the "Nuke Alert" button exactly like any other. Try this:

Missile Alert button pops up a panel with a Big Red "Live alert NOW" button, an Amber "this is a drill" button, and a green "Send the All Clear" button. If you hit the "Live alert NOW" button, you get a very lurid confirmation panel with something like "LIVE MISSILE ALERT WILL BE SENT - ARE YOU SURE??" this confirmation panel should be ENTIRELY different from the "just a drill" confirmation, and not at all like any standard confirmation panel. The confirmation popup should occupy most of the screen, and the big red "YES" and the Green "CANCEL" buttons should be large enough and well separated enough to avoid any possible wrong selection.

Yes, folks, when it comes to emergency alert buttons, it is time to "lift and separate 'em" so there is no mistake what you are touching!!

In reply to by BokkeDavola

Yippie21 auricle Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:58 Permalink

Wondering same.  Since when to states get to warn of ballistic missile attacks?  Like, Kansas would warn, but Oklahoma wouldn't?  Is Hawaii so freaking special, they get their own ballistic missile warning system...  kinda like tornado warnings on the mainland?  ... AND no one thought this might not be the best way to handle nuke warnings????   Heh.    Democrats.

In reply to by auricle

Alohakid Yippie21 Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

You have to understand, there's a large number of residents out here that feel they don't want anything to do with the Mainland. Mainlander's are all evil, the natives always know the better way despite new technology that's come down the pike.

The only time they need the Mainland is to fix their fuck ups or blame someone else for their fuck ups.

I am a native, however, I am forever grateful my family made sure I was properly educated.

In reply to by Yippie21