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Ajit Pai: FCC Launched 'Full Investigation' Into Hawaii False Alarm Scare

(Fox News' "Fox & Friends")

By    |   Monday, 15 January 2018 08:56 AM

The Federal Communications Commission has launched a "full investigation," and is examining steps to take so Hawaii does not get any more false alarms like the one that went out Saturday to warn a missile attack was imminent, chairman Ajit Pai said Monday.

"We have launched a full investigation at the FCC," Pai told Fox News' "Fox & Friends."

He also said he has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, elected officials, and state emergency management officials to figure out what went wrong.

At about 8:07 a.m. local time Saturday, an alert went to cell phones and interrupted television programing, warning of a "ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii" and a warning "this is not a drill."

According to Gov. David Ige, D-Hawaii, the notice was triggered when an employee pushed a wrong button during a shift change. The error was not reversed for almost 40 minutes, after a second alert went out that confirmed there was no danger, and shortly before that, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, posted through her social media accounts the alert was false.

"It appears that human error in the state emergency management authority in Hawaii was the primary cause of this, so going forward, what we want to do is make sure that we have a system that does not allow these kinds of false alerts to go out it," Pai said Monday.

"It obviously caused panic in this case, but also very importantly most people are familiar with the story of the boy who cried wolf."

The state emergency management authority is in charge of putting such alerts into the FEMA system, Pai said, which then distributes them to wireless carriers serving Hawaii, so the FCC is examining what needs to happen next.

"Part of the issue that we're looking at is [if there] are there any steps that we need to take of federal, state officials working together to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again," Pai said.

"I think the last thing we want is for our elected officials, citizens, everybody, to be scrambling thinking there really have a missile coming to Hawaii or any other kind of emergency."

The worst thing, though, would be for such false alarms to undermine the public's confidence in the wireless emergency alert system, Pai said.

"When the real emergency hits you want people to take that information seriously," he told the program.

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FCC chairman Ajit Pai has launched a "full investigation" into the false alarm that went out Saturday in Hawaii, which erroneously warned of an imminent missile attack.
ajit pai, fcc, investigation, hawaii, false alarm, missile
Monday, 15 January 2018 08:56 AM
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