Example: [Collected via Facebook, October 2013]
Just heard the Amber Alert system has been shut down but Michelle Obama's "Lets Move" site is still up. Is this true?
Origins: The AMBER Alert system for fostering widespread dissemination of bulletins about abducted children is coordinated on a nationwide basis by the Office of Justice Programs under the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ). In the first few days of the federal government shutdown in October 2013, the federal government's AMBER alert web site was replaced by a plain white screen and a message stating that "Due to the lapse in federal funding, this Office of Justice Programs (OJP) website is unavailable":
This circumstance led to rumors that the AMBER Alert system had been shut down, while less vital federal government programs were still active.
However, this was not the case. The DoJ's AMBER Alert web site only provides background information and statistics about the AMBER Alert system; it doesn't create, disseminate, or list the alerts themselves. AMBER alerts are issued locally, and they are compiled and tracked on the web site of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), which is, and has been, available throughout the federal government shutdown:
The website for the Office of Justice Programs, which hosts Amber Alert information, [was] "shut down" due to funding issues, a senior Justice Department official [said].
The official [said] that the website is informational only, detailing the department's role in providing training to states on how to have an Amber Alert system, and that the alerts themselves were not affected. Amber Alerts are issued jurisdictionally, by county or state, the official said, adding that the Amber Alert system, which consists
"The Office of Justice Programs had the funds to run through Friday,"
If there isn't a Justice Department employee working to monitor the sites, Fallon said, "it's a cyber-security risk for sites to be posted but not maintained or supervised."
"We had to bring in a furloughed employee to
The decision was made, a senior Justice Department official said, because there was a "public safety worry because of incorrect reporting that the program itself was down," as opposed to just the federal website.
Last updated: 7 October 2013