The worker, a man in his 50s, spoke to reporters on the condition that he not be identified because he has received threats.
Granting his first interviews since the scary January 13 debacle, the employee said his decision to push a panic button that alerted Hawaiians of an impending attack was no accident - he really believed it. Five other workers at the station heard the "exercise" phrase at the start and end of the message, said Brig.
The worker, who was sacked from his job at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency following the false alarm, said, "It was incredibly hard for me, very emotional" and he "just wanted to crawl under a rock".
The man was sacked from his job at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency last week.
"I feel very badly for what's happened, the panic and the stress people felt, and all the hurt and pain, you know".
The unidentified worker who sent a ballistic missile threat message in Hawaii appeared on NBC Nightly News on February 2, 2018.
"The protocol is that the person answering the call presses the speaker phone button so everyone in office can hear the message". I'm really not to blame in this. "I don't hear the beginning of the message coming across because what we're supposed to do is hit speakerphone on the line so everyone can hear the message".
Scared citizens called his colleagues, he said. The ex-worker disputed that, saying he was not aware of any performance problems.
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We needed to score the second, third and fourth when we had the chance. "I'm sad for the players because we played so well", he said.
"I thought 100 percent it was real", said the former employee, who said he had been involved in about five prior missile drills.
"And I didn't hear exercise at all".
Federal and state reports say the agency had a vague checklist for missile alerts, allowing workers to interpret the steps they should follow differently.
A second alert notifying residents that the warning had been sent in error wasn't transmitted for 38 minutes. It was a sense of urgency to put it in place as soon as possible.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi resigned as the reports were released.
The fired employee insisted he's being scapegoated by Hawaiian officials and he is considering legal action against The Aloha State. "It was a system failure", said the man. "I think the military should do that", he added.
The fallout over the incident didn't stop with the former worker.
Hawaii emergency officials "counseled" the employee in question at least twice before for mistaking drills for real threats, according to an internal investigation.