The man had previously mistaken tsunami and fire warnings for the real thing, say Hawaii officials. "I felt that myself", said the man, who was not named or shown fully during the interview with NBC's Lester Holt.
The Hawaii emergency worker who sent out a false alarm in December warning of an incoming ballistic missile said he was "100 percent sure" the threat was real.
"I couldn't hear the message, the beginning of the message saying 'Exercise, exercise, exercise.' I heard the part 'This is not a drill, ' and then I didn't hear exercise at all, in the message or from my coworkers, up until the point where I sent the alert out". It was a system failure, ' he told NBC Nightly News on Friday. But he added that he himself had been having a "very difficult" time in the wake of the incident, including getting death threats.
He said it felt like he had been hit with a "body blow" when he realised it was just a drill and he has had difficulty eating and sleeping since.
"I did what I was trained to do and I feel very badly about what happened". "I feel bad about it". "The last few weeks and it's been very hard".
The unidentified worker who sent a ballistic missile threat message in Hawaii appeared on NBC Nightly News on February 2, 2018.
The mistake occurred when a supervisor chose to give the workers a missile alert drill, according to a Federal Communications Commission report. "I didn't hear exercise at all in the message or from my co-workers".
The man said this time he never heard "exercise, exercise, exercise" over the secure phone for emergencies because someone picked up the handset before transferring it to a speaker.
Following procedures, the man activated the missile launch alert from a drop-down computer menu and clicked "yes" when the system asked him "Are you sure that you want to send this alert?" Gen. Bruce Oliveira shared details of the state's probe and said when the mistake was realized, the employee "froze" and "seemed confused".
The alert was sent to people in Hawaii on January 13 and caused mass panic and fear.
It took almost 40 minutes for the agency to figure out a way to retract the false alert on the same platforms it was sent to.
He said the attention needs to be focused on bigger, systemic issues.
Earlier the Federal Communications Commission investigation said no cooperation is being received from the employee of Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
A preliminary federal investigation into the incident released last week said the mix-up happened after a drill was conducted during a shift transition at the agency.
Gov. Ige, whose response to the incident was also called into question, said there was certainly need for improvement in the procedures and said changes had been implemented so there would be no repeat of the January 13 incident.