Hawaiian Gov. David Ige (D) has made the embarrassing admission that his office did not immediately inform the public about the state’s missile alert false alarm partly because he had forgotten the password to his Twitter account.
Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency mistakenly sent an alert to mobile phones in the state at 8:07 a.m. on Jan. 13, reading, “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
The alert caused widespread panic, but it later emerged that an EMA employee had accidentally sent a real alert while testing the system.
It took almost 40 minutes for an updated alert to be sent to phones, by which time many people had heard news of the false alarm through news reports or social media updates. It was later revealed that Ige was informed of the false alarm just two minutes after the first alert was sent, but his social media pages were not updated with the information until 8:24 a.m., more than 15 minutes after the alert.
Last week, Ige’s spokeswoman Cindy McMillan told HuffPost the reason the governor didn’t immediately broadcast the false alarm was because his staff handles his social media accounts.
“It took time for the governor to contact us and give us the information before we could post it,” she said.
On Monday, Ige admitted he did not immediately share the alert update because of password issues.
“I have to confess that I don’t know my Twitter account log-ons and the passwords, so certainly that’s one of the changes that I’ve made. I’ve been putting that on my phone so that we can access the social media directly,” he said.
“I was in the process of making calls to the leadership team both in Hawaii Emergency Management as well as others.”
Following the missile incident, Ige tweeted that the state had already taken action to ensure the error was not repeated.
“On behalf of the State of Hawai‘i, I deeply apologize for this false alert that created stress, anxiety and fear of a crisis in our residents and guests,” he wrote.
“I can personally assure each and every resident and visitor that steps have already been taken by the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency to ensure that a situation of this type never happens again.”