Has President Obama closed the Amber Alert program during the government shutdown? No.
Rumours are circulating that amidst the current budget crisis of 2013, President Obama has closed the Amber Alert program – the program in the US that helps locate missing children.
However the rumours are false and just a misunderstanding that has occurred as a result of various government websites closing. The misunderstanding has been fuelled by various politicians and media outlets who spread the rumour via their social media accounts.
In fact it is likely that the rumours first came to life because the US Office of Justice Programs (OJP) website (which houses information about the Amber Alerts) is – at the time of writing – currently down because of a lack of funding caused because the US Congress and the Whitehouse have not been able to agree on a budget.
Users who access the site see the below webpage –
However this website is only an informational website and has nothing to do with the actual running of the Amber Alert program. The Washington Post reported that Patti Davis, communications director for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, stated –
The AmberAlerts.gov website, which is the main site for the program is currently active after intially being taken offline and according to a DoJ spokesperson, an employee has been taken off furlough to ensure the site stays active. However the spokesperson reiterated the actual program was never taken offline and was always active.
So whilst a handful of sites have been taken down (and later restored) because of the government shutdown, the Amber Alert program has always remained active. Any variations of rumours that President Obama specifically closed down the Amber Alert program are baseless.