White House: Hawaii false alarm ‘purely a state exercise’
The White House said Saturday that President Trump was briefed on the false emergency alert that went out in Hawaii warning of an incoming ballistic missile threat.
“The President has been briefed on the state of Hawaii’s emergency management exercise. This was purely a state exercise,” White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement.
Individuals in Hawaii received a mobile alert earlier in the day, reading “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
Hawaii officials such as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) and the state’s Emergency Management Agency quickly tweeted that the message was a false alarm.
Just received this alert in Hawaii pic.twitter.com/VCHwRdG9Bc
— Amanda Golden (@amandawgolden) January 13, 2018
HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE. pic.twitter.com/DxfTXIDOQs
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018
NO missile threat to Hawaii.
— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) January 13, 2018
However, 38 minutes elapsed before a second alert saying it was a false alarm went out.
The initial notification caused panic and confusion across the state, and Hawaii lawmakers have called for officials to be held accountable in light of the incident.
Trump was briefed on the incident while in Florida for the holiday weekend.