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‘False alarm’ message delayed after Twitter gaffe

Hawaii’s governor has admitted he was unable to tell citizens that a missile alert was a false alarm because he did not know his Twitter username and password.

David Ige had learned that there was no threat to the public two minutes after the alert was sent to phones across the state at 8.07am – however, his official Twitter account did not share this news for 17 minutes.

On top of this, a retraction was not sent to phones for 38 minutes, with Hawaiians scrambling to find shelters in frenzied scenes.

A girl hides in a manhole during the false missile alert
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One girl hid in a manhole during the false missile alert

Mr Ige told the Honolulu Star Advertiser: “I have to confess that I don’t know my Twitter account logons and the passwords, so certainly that’s one of the changes that I’ve made.”

The governor has more than 7,700 followers on the social network – and any tweet reassuring the public would have quickly spread statewide.

On Tuesday, it emerged that Toby Clairmont, the executive officer for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, is retiring this year – but he has stressed that this was not due to the false alert.

Defending the agency, he added: “(We have) been serving Hawaii for decades very responsibly, very reliably and very competently. Mistakes get made.”

The Federal Communications Commission is conducting an inquiry into the alert, while an internal review by Hawaiian officials is being told to report back to Mr Ige within 60 days.

The Governor (3rd in left) said after the false alert that he would conduct a review of emergency procedures
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Governor David Ige says lessons have been learned from the Twitter mishap

On Monday, the governor said measures have been taken to make sure the false alarm fiasco is not repeated, and that the staff member who sent out the warning had been reassigned.

Hawaii had been named as a potential target of intercontinental ballistic missiles by North Korea, with Kim Jong Un threatening the entire US mainland with a nuclear strike.

Officials in Hawaii have spent months briefing the public on what action to take in the event of an attack.

It is estimated that Hawaiians would have less than 20 minutes’ notice before the missile arrived.

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