The federal Amber Alert website, which would normally be showing missing children bulletins, is the latest victim of the government shutdown. The most recent high-profile case of the effectiveness of the system is that of Hannah Anderson, the San Diego teenager kidnapped by family friend James DiMaggio after he allegedly killed her mother and brother.
Instead of descriptions of missing children, like Anderson, and the vehicles in which they were believed to be traveling, visitors to amberalert.gov are presented with a stark white screen and this message:
Due to the lapse in federal funding, this Office of Justice Programs (OJP) website is unavailable.
California Highway Patrol Officers told NBC4 that if an alert were issued for California, it would “page the media,” but that the signs along the highway that typically display the alerts would not be activated, as they are federally funded.
UPDATE 11 a.m. EST Federal officials told the Washington Post that the Amber Alert system itself is still 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.”
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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