The Department of Justice may have violated their own shutdown contingency plan by taking the AMBER Alert website offline, an official DOJ document outlining their plans during a government shutdown reveals.
The official contingency plan, issued by the department on September 30, lists five categories of services the DOJ would continue operating if “faced with a lapse in appropriations.”
One of those categories, No. 5, appears to imply the AMBER Alert program would remain untouched, since it’s tasked with business that concern issues of life and death, Townhall.com first reported. AMBER Alerts are emergency broadcasts pushed out to alert the public about children that have been abducted.
According to the department document, issues “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,” would continue operating even during a lapse in government funding.
A DOJ spokesperson did not return multiple requests for comment from TheBlaze Monday morning.
On Sunday night, TheBlaze reported that the AMBER Alert website had gone offline. Visitors attempting to access amberalert.gov were instead greeted with a message blaming the federal government shutdown for the lack of service. However, as reported by TheBlaze, first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” website appeared to remain untouched.
A Justice Department spokeswoman, however, clarified Monday the AMBER Alert service was never interrupted, and that only the website had been taken offline.
“It’s all functioning,” Patti Davis, communications director for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said in an email according to The Washington Post. “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.”
On Monday, the DOJ reportedly said they took an employee off furlough to re-open the website. Service to the website was restored around 11:00 a.m. ET.
“The amber alert system was never interrupted, but to eliminate any confusion, the informational site maintained by the Justice Department has been restored,” a spokesperson told The Huffington Post.
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