Denied Appeal Response April 16th 2011
Dear Mr. Yates: Your denial of my FOIA request for the country-by-country survey results ignores three crucial facts:
- The Peace Corps has previously found that the country-by-country results are FOIAable.
- The only issue was how much it’d charge me to produce the documents.
- I’ve said that I do not want the Volunteer answers to the open ended questions, where individuals might be identified.You have given no argument to distinguish country-by-country ET rates, which you have supplied to me, and country-by-country survey results.
When you respond to these three points, you will be responsive to the appeal that I have filed. If you refuse to respond to these two points, it’ll demonstrate unequivocally the failure of the Peace Corps to comply with President Obama’s transparency initiative. Until you respond to the appeal I have filed, it will remain obvious that the true reason for your denial is that to produce the country-by-country results will be embarrassing to the Peace Corps and give applicants the information they need to be selective when they respond to an invitation to serve.
Appeal Denied April 16th 2011
This is in response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) appeal. You are appealing the response you received in FOIA Request No. 11-059. Specifically, you stated, "I am appealing the denial of the 'country-by-country and program-by-program responses." You further stated, "Several years ago the Peace Corps responded to an earlier request to the same information and found that the country-by-country responses was FOIAable - at a cost. It did not deny that these results were FOIAable. So, this decision is clearly inconsistent with that decision. The FOIA gives you the right to request access to any agency record. This does not mean, however, that an agency will disclose every record requested. There are statutory exemptions that authorize the withholding of information of an appropriately sensitive nature. A fee may be assessed for the processing of your request, however, that does not mean a determination about whether the records are releasable was made.
I have determined that the response to your request was proper, and I find no basis for disagreeing with the initial determination made by the FOIA Office. Therefore, I am denying your appeal. Individual country and volunteer survey results which contain opinions, recommendations, and personally identifiable information, were appropriately withheld pursuant to 5 U.S.C. §§ 552 (b)(5) and (b)(6). Although we will not release the individual country surveys or project surveys, the regional survey summaries may be of assistance to you. The regional survey reports provide insight into the activities and experiences of the volunteers without risking harm to the agency's deliberative process or privacy of the volunteers. I am providing this as a discretionary release to you. Enclosed please find the regional survey reports for 2009 and 2010 which consists of six documents totaling 381 pages.
This is the final decision of the Peace Corps on this FOIA appeal. If you disagree with this decision, you may seek judicial review in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4). Sincerely,
Earl W. Yates Associate Director Management
Received December 29th 2010
This serves as an acknowledgement of your FOIA request. Your request has been assigned tracking number FOIA Request No. 11-059. You will receive a respond within 20 business days. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at FOIA@peacecorps.gov.
Requested December 16th 2010
Dear Peace Corps FOIA Officer: I request a copy of the Peace Corps comprehensive survey of the Volunteers for 2009 and 2010. I request the worldwide results. I also request copies of the answers to any open-ended questions. I also request the breakouts of the results country-by-country and program-by-program for each country. Thanks.