Thursday, Sep. 22, 2011

There Is a Myth About the Peace Corps Being a Front for the CIA

While certain organizations have been created in the past as fronts for the CIA — such as Air America, which was wholly owned and operated by the agency throughout the Vietnam War — the Peace Corps has never been identified as one of these covers. However, that didn't stop the myth from developing and spreading over the years. Because Peace Corps volunteers are often ingrained in the culture of the countries they are helping, it isn't uncommon for workers to be privy to information that might be useful to the U.S. government. However, using the Peace Corps members would almost certainly put them in danger, thus the CIA has a policy that strictly prohibits using volunteers for intelligence purposes. Further rules apply for Peace Corps volunteers serving in the military. Former members can't be assigned to military intelligence duties for four years following their Peace Corps service, and they may never serve the military in the country where they've volunteered. Finally, the employment application for the CIA includes questions about a candidate's association with the Peace Corps, and the Peace Corps application specifically states that employment by an intelligence agency excludes applicants from being able to serve as volunteers.