Washington, D.C. (Jan. 14, 2018) — In an interview today on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2) called on the State of Hawai‘i to immediately address the failures that led to the false missile alert and correct them.
A false alert was sent to Hawai‘i cell phones on Friday that read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Moments after receiving the message, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) confirmed with Hawai‘i Emergency Management Officials that the message was an error and there was no missile threat to Hawaii. She immediately alerted the people of Hawaii of the false message through multiple social media platforms. Thirty-eight minutes after the initial alert, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent a corrective alert to phones across the state that the alarm was sent in error. Initial reports from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) suggest the state did not have “reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of the false alert.”
Gabbard said that decades of regime change policies, including in Iraq, Syria and Libya have led North Korea to strengthen its nuclear program and undermined the credibility of the United States. Gabbard reiterated her calls for President Trump to immediately begin direct negotiations without preconditions with North Korea to deescalate and ultimately denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
“The people of Hawai‘i lived through the unimaginable yesterday, receiving an urgent mobile alert telling them to immediately seek shelter from an incoming ballistic missile,” Gabbard said. “Families all across Hawai‘i were terrified that they and their loved ones were about to experience the horror of nuclear war, with just minutes to live.”
This false missile alert that went out yesterday was a colossal failure that caused a nightmare, she said. Those responsible must be held accountable.
“There must be state and federal investigations into what occurred, and immediate corrective action taken to ensure the people in Hawai’i never have to go through anything like this again,” Gabbard said. “I am working to get answers for the people of Hawai’i and determine ways to address this preparedness failure through the Armed Services Committee in Congress, but we cannot stop there.”
Gabbard said she was particularly angry that the people of Hawai’i and the country live with the fear of a missile attack at all. This is the result of decades of failed leadership in this country and its leaders failing to take seriously the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and engage in face-to-face discussions to alleviate that threat, has produced the current crisis, she said.
“President Trump must immediately begin direct talks with Kim Jong Un, without preconditions, to denuclearize North Korea,” Gabbard said. “President Trump needs to understand that Kim Jong Un maintains a tight grip on North Korea’s nuclear weapons as a deterrent against U.S.-led regime change.”
North Korea has witnessed past and present U.S.-led regime change wars in countries like Libya, Iraq, and Syria, and increased calls for regime change in Iran, she said. North Korea feels it must protect itself with its own nuclear weapons for fear of ending up like Gaddafi who, after being promised the U.S. would not overthrow his regime, gave up his nuclear weapons, only to be deposed shortly thereafter by the United States, she said.
“This is why effective negotiations to denuclearize North Korea require an end to our failed and counterproductive regime change war policy,” Gabbard said. “The people of Hawai’i and this country want peace. President Trump needs to end the posturing and games, and immediately begin direct negotiations with North Korea. There is no time to waste.”