When an errorous statement is published about the Peace Corps and our experience knows the statement is not true, what should the response be?
A professor had written a book about federal agencies and included the Peace Corps with glowing praise, but he also wrote that only men were sent to Puerto Rico for Outward Bound Training. I had no success in convincing him to include that women also went to Puerto Rico for that vigorous training.
More recently, an RPCV friend explained to me that she had received an inquiry from a student in Europe writting about the history of Peace Corps. He had learned in a conference that Peace Corps had intervened in the Netherlands in 1962 and stayed for ten years He later said it found the same information in an AI website. That statement about Peace Corps is not true.
It was time to query Peace Corps about what to do. Accordingly, I made a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request. I requested:
Documents which indentify the employee or office responsible to correct information about Peace Corps which is wrong and could endanger serving PCVs. For example, published information stating they are working for military intelligence. I am concerned about books/articles being published not authorized by Peace Corps, but include items about Peace Corps which if not true, need to be refuted.
On March 20, I was asked to provide the following clarification:
No, I am not asking about materials which Peace Corps has officially publishing or even prepared, I am concerned about books/articles being published not authorized by Peace Corps, but include items about Peace Corps which if not true, need to be refuted.
Here is the Response:
A search was conducted within the Office of External Affairs (EA); however, we did not locate any responsive records. The Director of EA stated that Peace Corps does not request private citizens to retract any information they publish about the Peace Corps. Only on rare occasions, will the Office of EA request domestic news media outlets to clarify misinformation.