Hawaiian congresswoman calls false missile alarm 'an epic failure of leadership'

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is interviewed on "This Week" following the human error that led to a false alarm missile message.
6:29 | 01/14/18

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Transcript for Hawaiian congresswoman calls false missile alarm 'an epic failure of leadership'
That was the scene of panic in Hawaii yesterday after the state emergency system sent out this alert to mobile phones statewide. Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill. That was a false alarm. Someone pushed the the wrong button. There was no missile threat. It took a full 38 minutes for the state to issue a civil merge message retracting the alert. Congresswoman Tulsi gabbard joins us. 38 minutes for the state to retract the false alarm. It only took you 12. You issued this tweet. Hawaii, this is a false alarm. There is no incoming miss toll Hawaii. I have confirmed with officials. There is no incoming missile. How did you get the truth is the walk us through what happened. You can only imagine the panic, the terror, the chaos and confusion that ensued when over a million people in Hawaii and many visitors visiting Hawaii got that alert on their cell phones. Now understanding at the they literally just have minutes. Taking this threat seriously. They have minutes to say good-bye to their loved ones. To find their loved ones. To try to find some kind of shelter somewhere, which, there are no designated nuclear bomb snerlts Hawaii. I went through the same thing when I got that message on my phone. Wondering where my family is. What they were doing. I called Hawaii officials and state of defense and asked them what is going on here? I was told right away there is no incoming missile threat. Someone pushed the wrong button. It was an inadvertent mistake. Why did it take them so throng retract it? That's what we're trying to get to the bottom of. It is unacceptable. The fact that it took so long for them to put out that second message, to calm people. To allay their fears that this was a mistake. A false alarm, is something that has to be fixed, corrected with people held accountable. Are you confident this won't happen again? We have to do everything we can to make sure it doesn't. There is so much at stake. I got messages from people all across Hawaii. Throughout the day yesterday. Just detail iing what they went through. A father said his two children were in two different locations. He had to sit there and think, which of his children he was going choose to spend the last minutes of his life with. There were so many people who went through this stark reality that I hope the rest of the country, I hope people in Washington, leaders in Washington pay attention to that this threat of nuclear war, nuclear attack, is not a game. This is real. And this is what the people of Hawaii just went through yesterday morning. That leads to the question now of hat should done about it. Do you believe that president trump should be speaking directly to the leader of north kree skra? Absolutely and immediately. This is something I have been calling for for a long time. I've been talking about the seriousness of this threat posed to the people of Hawaii and this country, coming from north Korea. The people of Hawaii are paying the price now for decades of failed leadership in the country. Failure to directly negotiate. To prevent us from getting to this point where we're dealing with this tret today. Setting unreal itselfic preconditions. I have been calling for president trump to sit across the table from Kim Jong-un without preconditions. Work out the differences. Figure out a way to build this pathway towards denuclearization. Because will is so much at stake. The people of Hawaii recognized this yesterday, experienced it personally. The leaders of this country need to experience that same visceral understanding of how lives are at stake. Kim Jong-un says heel not give up his nuclear arsenal. Perhaps they could lead to talks of a freeze. Given that, do we need to bolster the defenses of Hawaii? We absolutely need to bolster the missile defense system for Hawaii and other places. I have continued to work on doing that. It's important an we talk about how important it is that trump directly negotiates with north Korea. We have to understand why Kim Jong-un is saying he's not going to give up his nuclear weapons. Our country's history of regime change wars has led countries like North Korea to develop and hold on to these weapons because they see it as the only deterent to regime change. We need to provide the credible guarantee that the United States is not going in to topple the north Korean regime so these conversations can beg towards denuclearization. Jour saying that Kim Jong-un's nuclear arsenal is our fault? ? What I'm saying is that Democrat and Republican administration for decades, back over 20 years, failed to recognize the seriousness of this threat, failed to remove it. We know that North Korea has these nuclear weapon because they see how the United States in Libya, for example, guaranteed Gadhafi, we're not going after you, you should get rid of your nuclear weapons. He did. Then we led an attack that toppled Gadhafi. Launching Libya into chaos that we still see today. North Korea cease what we did in Iraq with Saddam hussein and the false reports of weapons of mass destruction. And in Iran, how president trump is desert fieing a nuclear deal there. Threatening the agreement that was made. We have to understand that yes, North Korea is holding on to these nuclear weapons because they think it is their only protection from the united States coming in and doing to them what the United States has done to so many countries throughout history. Was it a mistake for the United States to take out Gadhafi and hussein? It was. Absolutely. Congresswoman gabbard, thank you for your time this morning. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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