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Former no. 2 at state emergency management agency questions state's missile alert investigations

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The former executive officer at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is is questioning the state's investigations into the Jan. 13 missile alert mistake, particularly why the state's adjutant general has escaped criticism.

"I think they are concerned about the governor's re-election campaign," said Toby Clairmont, who resigned in the wake of the false missile alert.

Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, state Department of Defense director of public affairs, responded to Clairmont's concerns with this: "If anybody is politicizing the event, it's being done outside the administration and department.

The state's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Arthur J. Logan, also serves as the director of the emergency management agency and is a member of Gov. David Ige's defense cabinet.

In the wake of the missile alert, investigations blamed the so-called button pusher and a leadership failure by top agency managers — Administrator Vern Miyagi and Clairmont. Both stepped aside, but Clairmont says Logan helped promote the ballistic missile plan to visits with the county mayors.

"The mission to do this came from the very top of the organization, the governor and Gen. Logan. So why blame us? We were there doing our job," said Clairmont.

The state's final report on the missile alert mistake said the preparedness campaign was Miyagi's idea to get ahead of the North Korea threat.

Anthony said that Ige and Logan, who aren't involved in day-to-day operations at the emergency management agency, agreed to the plan — but it was HI-EMA's job to carry it out.

"At that point, it becomes the kuleana of the Hawaii Emergency Management agency," said Anthony.

Anthony added that Ige has been the most transparent governor in terms of disasters that he's worked with. He says the administration has been open and internal investigations have been objective.

"Mr. Clairmont was the initial investigative officer for the internal investigation, but he was replaced by Brig. Gen. Oliveira because we needed to ensure that not only was there objectivity but the appearance of objectivity was maintained as well," said Anthony.

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