In Brief

Hawaii missile alert stand-down delayed by lost login

State governor couldn’t correct false nuclear alarm because he forgot Twitter password

Hawaii Governor David Ige has admitted he was unable to notify panicked residents that the nuclear missile alert earlier this month was a false alarm - because he couldn’t find his Twitter login and password.

The alert, sent to mobile phones statewide at 8.07am local time on 13 January, warned in capital letters: “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” Believing a North Korean nuclear bomb was about to hit, some residents boarded up their homes, while others hid their children in sewers, the Daily Mail reports.

Yet while authorities advised the governor that the message had been sent by mistake within two minutes, according to CNN, it took a further 15 minutes for Ige to post a correction online, and 38 minutes for state officials to issue a message.

Today Ige told reporters that part of that delay was down to him, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. “I have to confess that I don’t know my Twitter account logons and the passwords,” Ige said, “so certainly that’s one of the changes that I’ve made [since]. I’ve been putting that on my phone so that we can access the social media directly.”

Speaking to local media following his State of the State address, Ige said that during the nuclear panic, he had also called the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and other official organisations.

“The missile alert fiasco highlighted flaws both human and technological in the state’s civil defence warning system,” says US military news site Stars and Stripes. “The false alert was sent out because an employee clicked on the wrong option on an old-fashioned drop-down menu of links.”

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