Websites Briefly Go Down During Speech

The United States government faced a disruption in their online services on Thursday evening as President Joe Biden addressed the nation in his State of the Union address. The websites for agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Secret Service went down for approximately 20 minutes. While the cause of the outage is still unknown, DHS officials have stated that it does not appear to be malicious in nature.

The outage began around 9 pm EST, as President Biden began his highly anticipated speech. Users attempting to access these government websites were met with technical difficulty screens. This outage came at a time when millions of Americans were tuned in to the State of the Union, prompting some to speculate about the possibility of a distraction from potential unethical activities.

Twitter was flooded with posts from confused users, with some questioning the timing of the website outage. User John Winters wrote, "Why are a bunch of government websites down at this moment in time? It seems like everyone is distracted by the state of the union so there’s a bunch of backdoor shady stuff going on right now." Similarly, Jonathan Newburg shared his thoughts, saying, "Very strange that US Government websites are down during the #StateOfTheUnion address."

According to, a search engine used by and for the federal government, planned maintenance was scheduled between 3 pm to 6 pm on Thursday. It remains unclear if this maintenance is related to the website outage, as government officials have not released any official statements about the cause.

As the nation watched Biden's pivotal State of the Union address, the President aimed to combat low approval ratings and questions about his mental and physical fitness for office. He began his speech with a light-hearted joke before turning his attention to his rival for the presidency, Donald Trump. Biden's goal with this speech was to present himself as an energetic and capable leader, worthy of a second term.

In his address, Biden also addressed the ongoing tensions with Russia, stating that President Vladimir Putin is "on the march, invading Ukraine and sowing chaos throughout Europe and beyond." He stressed that there was no indication that Putin would stop at Ukraine.

This government website crash comes on the heels of a string of recent social media and communications outages in the US. Just the day before, the professional networking site LinkedIn experienced an outage that left thousands of users frustrated and unable to access the site. Similarly, on Tuesday, major social media platforms Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram experienced a 1.5 hour-long outage that affected users in the US, UK, parts of Europe, China, Australia, and Mexico.

AT&T, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the US, also experienced a widespread network outage in February that caused 70,000 phones to go down. The company attributed the issue to a "software update glitch," but there were speculations of a possible cyberattack. The Department of Homeland Security and FBI are currently investigating the issue.

As the government and tech companies continue to look into these recent outages, it remains uncertain if they are all connected or simply a coincidence. The cause of the government website outage during the State of the Union address is still being investigated, and officials have given no indication of any malicious intent. However, this incident has raised concerns about the security and stability of these essential online services.

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