Jan. 26 (UPI) — The person responsible for sending the false ballistic missile alert to Hawaiians last month is not cooperating with an investigation, the Federal Communications Commission said.
Lisa Fowlkes, the head of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau at the FCC, said Thursday on Capitol Hill during a hearing with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that Hawaii leadership is helping in the probe of the incident, but the key employee in the case has not.
Fowlkes said the FCC was “pleased” with cooperation from the state emergency agency but noted the commission was “disappointed, however, that one key employee — the person who transmitted the false alert — is refusing to cooperate with our investigation.”
“We hope that person will reconsider,” Fowlkes said.
Hawaii Emergency Management has also expressed their desire for the employee to cooperate with the investigation.
“We share FCC Public Safety Bureau Chief Lisa Fowlkes’s disappointment,” Hawaii Emergency Management said in a statement. “The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has encouraged its employees to cooperate in all ongoing investigations. While cooperation is in the end a matter of choice for each individual, we hope that anyone who is not cooperating will reconsider and assist in bringing these matters to a satisfactory conclusion.”
The false alert sent to cellphones across the state of Hawaii month resulted in mass panic across the state as civilians braced for a ballistic missile strike.
Ten minutes later, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency confirmed there was no threat.
Although the investigation is ongoing, Fowlkes told the committee that “based on current information it appears that the false alert was a result of two failures: First, simple human error. Second, the state did not have safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the human error from resulting in the transmission of a false alert.”