PC/HQ Replies to to Dan Evon of Snopes

Snopes.com  formally known as the Urban Legends Reference Pages, is one of the first online fact-checking websites. It is a widely known resource for validating and debunking urban legends and similar stories in American popular culture. Dan Evon from Snopes received this email from Peter Ter at the Peace Corps Office when Snopes tried to find out if Kevin McQuillan was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal.  Note: Jcoyne

Dear Dan:

My name is Peter Ter. I am the Certifying Officer at U.S. Peace Corps.

I am writing to you this message regarding your message that you posted online.

I did talk to a lady (your colleague) last week who said that she wanted to verify a former PCV. It usually takes only less than 3 minutes to verify a person’s Peace Corps service with or without a Social Security Number (SSN) Thus,  I do have more than a remedy or knowledge to find somebody’s information in the records. But,  I must follow U.S. Government’s  Privacy Act policy by not releasing a person’s information without the form of consent as described in the “Condition of Disclosure” of the 1974 privacy Act, whose overview can be found here at the Department of Justice (DoJ) web site: https://www.justice.gov/opcl/privacy-act-1974.

Finding volunteer’s information is very easy, but because of the Privacy Act of 1974, I refused to provide the RPCV’s information to your colleague, whom I have spoken to. She did not have the form of consent or she could not give me some basic information to make me believe that the person was a former volunteer and that she has her consent to conduct the background investigation. I told her that when she e-mail Ms. McQuillan’s form of consent at certify@peacecorps.gov., I will release her service information to her or to your company promptly.

Nevertheless, your colleague threatened me on the phone that because I refused to release Ms. McQuillan’s information, she and your company will write bad things about me online. Then, I told her to go ahead because I must follow Peace Corps and U.S. Government policies.

Because I refused to tell give them RPCV’s  information, they will be writing bad things about me online. My colleagues and our interns were here she and I were talking.

I also gave the lady from the Fact-Check web site Snope Keith Honda’s phone number. I told her to call Keith Honda, who is my boss so that she can discuss with him the issue.

Please, just sent me the form of consent and I will release to you her service information.

Kind regards,


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  • I gather this is a miffed or bare-midriff reply from this employee and not an “officially issued” Peace Corps statement who must have been feeling over-burdened and sputtered the send key too soon (as I still do at 81, and he’s probably in his 20’s with no seniors to counsel him)

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