Why The Delay Correcting False Alert? Hawaii Governor Forgot Twitter Password

Jan 23, 2018
Originally published on January 23, 2018 6:12 pm

It was 8:07 a.m. when the alert hit phones across Hawaii.

"BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII," it declared in no uncertain terms. "SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

Just two minutes later Gov. David Ige learned the alert was a mistake.

Then, an additional 15 minutes passed.

Only at 8:24 did Ige retweet the state's Emergency Management Agency, which a few minutes earlier had clarified on Twitter there was "NO missile threat to Hawaii."

So, what was Ige doing during that quarter-hour? For at least part of that period, it appears he was trying to figure out his Twitter password.

"I have to confess that I don't know my Twitter account log-ons and the passwords," Ige acknowledged to reporters Monday after delivering his State of the State address, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

He noted that during that time he was also "in the process of making calls to the leadership team both in Hawaii Emergency Management as well as others."

As NPR's Emily Sullivan and Emma Bowman noted earlier this month, the official push notification canceling the warning was only sent 38 minutes after the first alert. By that time, the false alarm had caused its fair share of panic on the islands.

"You have that moment where the unimaginable is happening," Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, whose own all-caps correction was tweeted five minutes before Ige's, told NPR's Michel Martin. "And you understand that you could very well have minutes before your loved ones and our home is destroyed — literally destroyed."

Ige, for his part, said Monday the delay made for a lesson learned.

"Certainly that's one of the changes that I've made," Ige told the Star-Advertiser. "I've been putting that on my phone so that we can access the social media directly."

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