Police Knew That Hawaii Missile Attack Report was False Within Five Minutes After Alert

Honolulu police guard road closures around the Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, on November 10 , 2011 during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. The United States hosts this year's APEC forum for the first time since 1993, with leaders from the 21 member economies convening on the island of …

A report from Sunday says that local police were aware that a missile attack warning for Hawaii was false only five minutes after it was sent, but it took a full 38 minutes for authorities to correct the inaccurate information.

According to 911 recordings obtained by Mercury News, police dispatchers had realized that the missile warning was a false alarm only minutes after the warnings flashed across cell phones.

The warning hit cellphones at 8:07 AM on Saturday, January 13, but dispatchers were aware that the report was a false alarm by 8:12, the paper reported. Despite that, officials didn’t rescind the warning until 8:45.

“Somebody should get fired,” one police officer is heard saying dourly on the recordings.

Only minutes after the alert went out, one Island police officer was heard letting out a “wheww” in relief as he learned that the whole thing was untrue.

“They’re really scared,” the officer added of people he was meeting.

“They probably made an error in their testing,” the dispatcher responded on the recordings. “And we’ll just have to relay this to everybody.”

Several other dispatchers and officers reiterated that the report was a false one, but one supervisor advised to continue evacuations until official channels reported back that the alert was an accidental release.

“We don’t mess around with this kind of stuff,” the supervisor says on the recordings.

But a full 38 minutes went by before that official confirmation was released.

By Monday, it was reported that the government employee who accidentally flipped the switch to issue the warning to 1.4 million islanders was merely “reassigned” and not fired from his government job.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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