Conservatives are bashing President Obama for taking down the Amber Alert system, a misunderstanding based on thinking that the Justice Department website is necessary for the alert system. Oh, and the misunderstanding that the website is down.
On Sunday night, Rep. Roger Williams of Texas tweeted that the site for the program, the umbrella name for regional and local alert system which is activated in the case of a missing child, had been taken down. "This is a new low," Williams wrote. "Obama SPENT money to close natl parks but shut down the Amber Alert website." He linked to the Office of Justice Programs, which is indeed down. That tweet was picked up by Michelle Malkin's website Twitchy, which collected reactions.
Blocking WWII vets: essential. Funding the Amber Alert site: nonessential.— Razor (@hale_razor) October 6, 2013
No, seriously, the petty bastards in the Obama Administration turned off the Amber Alert website http://t.co/CIzOSVkNv2— Jason B. Whitman (@JasonBWhitman) October 6, 2013
By this morning, the story was the lead on the Drudge Report, as seen above.
Several media outlets, like The Washington Post, pointed out that the closure of the Office of Justice Programs website doesn't affect the actual system of alerts.
“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. ”
And now, the kicker: The official Amber Alert site is AmberAlert.gov, which as of this moment is very much active. This appears to not be the site that Williams was linking to with his shortened URL, which links to an "unavilable" page. Tweets collected by Twitchy suggest it was down, but any consternation over it being down currently is incorrect.
So to recap: When the Amber Alert website was down, which it isn't, it didn't affect the Amber Alert system. As for whether or not Obama personally instructed the Department of Justice to shut down the Amber Alert site in the misguided hope that more children would be abducted? That's still up in the air.