North Korea weighs in on 'utter chaos' after state's missile alert mistake
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the first time since Saturday, North Korea is reportedly weighing in on the state's missile alert mistake – and congressional members are weighing in on how much worse the mistake could've actually been.
The New York Times on Tuesday reported that the North's state-run newspaper had called the false alarm a "tragicomedy," saying – fairly accurately – that "the entire island (sic) was thrown into an utter chaos at the news that a ballistic missile was coming in."
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard believes Saturday's false alarm could have triggered global consequences like those seen during the Cold War, where certain miscommunications nearly triggered militaries to start activating arsenals.
"When you have this false alarm that goes out, it can cause a chain of events that have the potential of resulting in an unintentional nuclear war," said U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).
On Saturday, Gabbard says, it took only a few minutes for her to confirm with Hawaii's Adjutant General that the alert had been a mistake. She started notifying people on social media and with phone calls, well before the state had issued a proper correction.
Gabbard and Congresswoman Colleen Hanabasa sent a joint letter on Tuesday to the House Armed Services Committee, requesting a congressional inquiry into the relationship between the U.S. Pacific Command and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency on alerts impacting national security.
"Unless Hawaii retracts an alert like we had, if the state doesn't retract it, the U.S. Pacific Command doesn't have a right to do it,' said U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii).
Senator Mazie Hirono says that Saturday's false alarm had the "potential to be totally catastrophic" – and that could have lead to miscommunication at a time when tensions are already heightened between the U.S. and North Korea.
"This kind of heightened tensions leads to miscalculations, and that's why you need redundancies and fail safe systems in place," said Hirono, (D-Hawaii).
During a briefing on Capitol Hill, Senator Hirono secured a promise from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to investigate.
The congressional delegation is meeting Wednesday with multiple federal and state agencies.
"The challenge with this is that it's all brand new to state government. They should have slowed down, fleshed out a program with best practices established before they started to test this thing and obviously it was a terrible catastrophe," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
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