HAWAII: FCC Says False Nuclear Missile Alert Was Sent Deliberately By Worker Who Misheard Drill Message

The Washington Post reports:

The emergency worker who sent a false public safety alert on Jan. 13 warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack on Hawaii believed that a ballistic missile was truly bound for the state after mishearing a recorded message as part of an unscheduled drill, according to a preliminary investigation by federal officials.

A combination of human error and improper safeguards led the worker to deliberately send the alert message, which sowed widespread confusion and fear for 38 minutes, the Federal Communications Commission said in its report Tuesday.

The mistake began with a night-shift supervisor who decided to test incoming day-shift workers with a spontaneous drill. The supervisor managing the day-shift workers appeared to be aware of the upcoming test but believed it was aimed at the outgoing night-shift workers. Thus the day-shift manager was not prepared to supervise the morning test, the FCC said.

According to the report, the recorded test message repeated the word “exercise” three times but also included “this is not a drill.”