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No, The Amber Alert System Was Not Shut Down

The latest shutdown related furor to make its way around the Interwebs occurred this morning when conservative bloggers apparently discovered this message when you went to the portion of the Dept. Of Justice’s website that deals with the Amber Alert system, which is meant to notify the public when children are missing:

amberalertwebsite_unavailable

 

Of course, it didn’t take long for Matt Drudge to get on the case:

 

Amber Alert

 

As it turns out, though, the actual Amber Alert system was not impacted by the Government Shutdown at all:

The Department of Justice Web site that provides information on the AMBER alert program is off-line because of the federal government shutdown, but the program itself, which alerts communities to serious child abductions, is still up and running.

“It’s all functioning,” Patti Davis, communications director for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said in an e-mail. “Only the DOJ Web site, which is informational, is down. The states run AMBER Alerts, and NCMEC does secondary alerts. Service has not been impacted. “

The AMBER Alert Program, which was named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was abducted while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Tex., uses radio, television, the Internet and road signs to assist law enforcement agencies in the search for abducted children.

Conservatives are criticizing the Obama administration for allowing the Web site to lapse — accusing them of shuttering an essential service to make a political point about the shutdown.

As John Adams once said, facts are stubborn things and, in this case, the facts are that the Department of Justice isn’t even directly involved in the Amber Alert system, and certainly doesn’t act as the central authority in releasing Amber Alerts. For quite obvious reasons, that it is something within the purview of state and local law enforcement.

It now appears that the DOJ has restored the Amber Alert site on its website, and, as noted, it appears to be purely informational.

But all of this leads to a question…..

Did people really think that the government was shutting down a system designed to help quickly find missing children, or were they just jumping on something without, you know checking the facts?

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Damn, I was hoping that the Republican House would disappear no Amber Alert would be forthcoming. Oh wait, the Amber Alert is for notification of possible child abduction … never mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  2. Mark says:

    Funny part is, Drudge was 100% accurate. The Amber Alert website did go offline with that message. Not sure why people keep trying to act like Drudge posted a falsehood on this.

    If you think the shutdown of that website (which has since been reinstated because of backlash) isn’t just petty politics on the part of the President, you’re fooling yourself!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 25

  3. alanstom says:

    “Did people really think that the government was shutting down a system designed to help quickly find missing children…?”

    given this administration’s track record, yes.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 25

  4. al-Ameda says:

    @alanstom:

    “Did people really think that the government was shutting down a system designed to help quickly find missing children…?”

    Well, that’s my point exactly – if the Republican House delegation disappeared, I doubt that local enforcement authorities would find them quickly, if at all. Sometimes it just works out that way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  5. bandit says:

    Only the DOJ Web site, which is informational, is down

    So it was like down

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 14

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Shorter Democratic spin: “It wasn’t shut down, but it’s back up now, so shut up.”

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 20

  7. Dan Cummings says:

    It was down. If it was informational only why wasn’t it left up?

    But phone access was also cut off.

    And coordination of state Amber Alerts across borders was stopped. Has that been reinstated?
    They’ll claim whatever they want, like their apologist Mataconis here.

    The website was down for at least two days. The phone wasn’t answered for two days.

    ‘Informational’ means it has information on current Amber Alerts. To Doug Mataconis that must be meaningless.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 17

  8. Hal 10000 says:

    Did people really think that the government was shutting down a system designed to help quickly find missing children, or were they just jumping on something without, you know checking the facts?

    I think you’ve just described the politics of the last decade.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  9. Rob in CT says:

    Looking at the comments, we have yet another example of Conservatives who think government is bad… except this, and that, and that other thing over there that they like.

    Simultaneously being all for a shutdown and then whining if/when something people like is impacted is pretty transparent, fellas. Get it together.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 2

  10. Jeremy R says:

    @Dan Cummings:

    It was down. If it was informational only why wasn’t it left up?

    For the same reason any federal website redirected to a shutdown notice. The actual content was put behind a firewall because the IT staff who deal with defacement & hacking were furloughed and it was deemed important enough to protect.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  11. al-Ameda says:

    Isn’t it time for another photo-op?
    Maybe Michele Bachmann and Steve King can storm the DOJ offices and claim that they saved the children?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  12. Ernieyeball says:

    @al-Ameda: Maybe Michele Bachmann and Steve King can storm the DOJ offices…

    Where they will get lost.
    Since there will be no Amber Alert due to the Government shutdown that they want no one will look for them and they will never be seen again!
    We can only hope…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  13. bandit says:

    @Rob in CT: WTF are you talking about crybaby asshole?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  14. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Dan Cummings:

    They’ll claim whatever they want, like their apologist Mataconis here

    One the best things about the drive-by d-bags is how easy they are to spot. Doug, an Obama / Dem apologist??? It is to laugh!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  15. David M says:

    @bandit:

    “Keep the government out of my Medicare”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  16. Did people really think that the government was shutting down a system designed to help quickly find missing children, or were they just jumping on something without, you know checking the facts?

    Or maybe it has something to do with everything the GOP/the right does is based on lies? Has anyone with an IQ about room temperature not realized that by now?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @bandit: We are talking about you you whiney a$$ b!tch. If I was in the White House you wouldn’t be getting your Medicare just because you are an idiot and idiots should be the first to go.

    You want to see politics being played? Put me in a position where I can show you how it’s done and I guarantee this whole mess would be over by now. I would cut every bit of funding from every red district that I could lay my hands on.

    What would you do about it? Impeach meee???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  18. Also, where is the constitutional authorization for the AMBER alert system? I don’t recall Washington, Adams, Jefferson, or
    Madison supporting or proposing such a system.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  19. David M says:

    One other point. The government is likely prohibited from leaving informational web sites up as web hosting and electricity aren’t free. They can’t just promise to pay the bills when they come in later.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  20. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Shorter Democratic spin: “It wasn’t shut down, but it’s back up now, so shut up.”

    Shorter dumbass: I can’t read!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  21. Rex Marsh says:

    In a few years, when I’m trying to explain to my kids that, no seriously, there was this thing called “The Republican Party,” and we used to have “Libertarians,” I swear to God, stick with me here… I’m going to send them this story and comment thread. It’s going to help them understand, and then sleep at night.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. al-Ameda says:

    @bandit:

    @Rob in CT: WTF are you talking about crybaby asshole?

    Wow, did Lassie poop in your Wheaties this morning?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0