Worker Who Sent False Missile Alert Is Refusing to Cooperate

'We hope that person will reconsider,' FCC says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2018 2:23 AM CST
Updated Jan 26, 2018 6:36 AM CST
Employee Who Sent Hawaii False Alarm Isn't Talking to Feds
Cars drive past a highway sign that says "MISSILE ALERT ERROR THERE IS NO THREAT" on the H-1 Freeway in Honolulu.   (Cory Lum/Civil Beat via AP, file)

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency worker who caused panic by accidentally sending an incoming missile alert earlier this month has clammed up, officials say. Lisa Fowlkes, the chief of the Federal Communication Commission's Homeland Security Bureau, told a Senate hearing Thursday that the "button pusher" responsible is no longer cooperating with the FCC's investigation, NBC News reports. "We hope that person will reconsider," she said. Hawaiian officials say the employee was reassigned to a different role after the Jan. 13 false alarm but hasn't returned to work since, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. Fowlkes said other HEMA employees have been very cooperative.

"Initially he did provide a statement of his actions that day, but now he is not cooperating," says Hawaii Department of Defense spokesman Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony. "He's choosing not to have further engagement with other employees at the Emergency Management Agency who have attempted to reach out to him." Anthony says the employee has not been disciplined, but punishments including firing are still possible. The agency's executive officer said last week that the employee has received dozens of death threats and "is not doing well." During Thursday's Senate hearing, Sen. Brian Schatz said he plans to introduce legislation to put the Pentagon and Homeland Security in charge of missile alerts. "A missile attack is federal," he said. "A missile attack is not a local responsibility." (Read more Hawaii stories.)

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