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FCC chairman on false missile alarm: Hawaii lacked ‘reasonable safeguards’

HONOLULU — The Federal Communications Commission investigation into Hawaii’s false missile alarm is underway and already showing Hawaii lacked “reasonable safeguards,” agency chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Sunday.

“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,” the statement read.

A false alarm on Saturday warned people to seek shelter because of an inbound ballistic missile threat.

State leaders and emergency officials said it was a false message, and Hawaii Gov. David Ige said “an employee pushed the wrong button,” causing the erroneous alert.

Pai said officials at all levels needed to identify vulnerabilities, and that the FCC would look into steps to take to “prevent a similar incident.”

The statement said the frightening alarm was made worse by a 38-minute delay to correct it, and that systems must ensure immediate corrections to false alarms.

Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz said in a statement Sunday that he is working with the FCC to investigate the issue.

“This system failed miserably,” he said. “We need to improve it and get it right.”