Amber Alert website back online, did government violate own rules removing it in the first place

Amber Alert website back online, did government violate own rules removing it in the first place
Photo provided by KETK.

POSTED: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 3:00pm

UPDATED: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 5:57pm

The website for national Amber Alerts which was previously inoperable due to the United States government shutdown is now back online.

The government pulled an employee off of furlough to re-launch the site.

This, now, poses the question whether or not the government disregarded their own laws in the time of shutdown.

According to the U.S.. Department of Justice FY 2014 Contingency Plan, the Antideficiency Act restricts the Federal Government’s ability to obligate funds in advance of appropriations or beyond appropriated levels.

If the Department is faced with a lapse in appropriations it will only continue the following categories of activities:

  • Those funded by a source that has not lapsed, such as permanent indefinite appropriations and carryover of no-year funds appropriated in a prior year.
  • Those for which there is an express authority to continue during an appropriations lapse.
  • Those for which authority to continue during an appropriations lapse arises by necessary implication.
  • Those related to the discharge of the President’s constitutional duties and powers.
  • Those related to “emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property,” i.e., where there is a reasonable likelihood that the safety of human life or the protection of property would be compromised, in some significant degree, by delay in the performance of the function in question.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice stated the following:

"The Amber Alert system was never interrupted, but to eliminate any confusion, the informational site maintained by the Justice Department has been restored."

On Sunday night, reported that the AMBER Alert website had gone offline. Visitors attempting to access were instead greeted with a message blaming the federal government shutdown for the lack of service. However, first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” website appeared to remain untouched.

Louisiana Amber Alert was not impacted:

Despite the weekend shutdown of the Department of Justice webpage, the activation of AMBER Alerts in Louisiana was not impacted. The Louisiana AMBER Alert plan is based on local and statewide partnerships and is independent from the federal government. The page has since been reactivated and is primarily an informational site regarding statistics, reports and overviews of individual plans.

While the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (, a non-profit organization, does receive some funding from the federal government, it will also continue to supplement state and local plans via their AMBER Alert Secondary Distribution Program to major corporations, transportation companies, internet search engines, etc.

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