Can you help out Snopes: Was Karin McQuillan a real PCV? (Senegal)

 

Yesterday I received this email from Dan Evon of the social media site Snopes

Hey John,

This is Dan Evon from the fact-checking web site Snopes. I’m trying to verify that Karin McQuillan was a member of the Peace Corps and I saw that you posted about her on Peace Corps World Wide.

I tried reaching out to the Peace Corps but they wouldn’t verify if McQuillan was ever a member.

Thank you very much for your time,

Dan

Snopes has published this account:

 Did a Former Peace Corps Volunteer Defend Trump’s Sh*thole Comments?

An opinion piece arguing that “Trump is Right” about African countries was written by Karin McQuillan.

A chain email circulated in January 2018, spreading an opinion piece which argued that President Trump was right when he reportedly categorized African countries as “shitholes” during a meeting on immigration. Although the versions of this email that we encountered correctly attributed this piece to Karin McQuillan, a contributor to the American Thinker who calls herself a former Peace Corps member, many readers seemed unsure about this article’s origins.

Some readers may have been skeptical about chain emails in general, which are notorious for misattribution, while others questioned whether McQuillan was actually a former member of the Peace Corps.

McQuillan’s full piece was published on the web site American Thinker on 17 January 2018.

Although many think of the Peace Corps as a “liberal” organization, McQuillan is a conservative contributor at the American Thinker and frequently publishes pieces with an anti-Obamapro-Trumpslant.

It is difficult to verify if McQuillan was truly a volunteer in the Peace Corps. When contacted by phone, the Peace Corps human resources department declined to confirm employment for Karen McQuillan, saying they required her social security number or a release form to do a basic employment check, according to Peter Ter, certifying specialist. Ter did not have a remedy for how to find out if someone was lying about employment for the Peace Corps, in which case no social security or release form would be attainable. We were unable to reach McQuillan for further verification.

So, we can’t say with certainty that McQuillan was a member of the Peace Corps. However, a posting on Peace Corps Worldwide, a site where former volunteers share experiences, stated that McQuillan volunteered in Senegal in 1971..

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In my reply to Dan I sent him McQuillan’s home address, phone number, and email address.

Now I’m asking that if you served with McQuillan, drop Dan a note at: dan@snopes.com  or me at: jcoyneone@gmail.com so we can settle the issue. In my view, Karin was a Peace Corps Volunteer who ETed out of Senegal in 1971.

Karen McQuillan

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