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Eye On the Government Printing Office

By Ed O'Keefe

The latest "Eye On..." video profile of a federal employee comes from the Government Printing Office, which is a busy place today as it distributes and sells copies of President Obama's detailed Fiscal Year 2010 budget.

The Eye recently visited with GPO head forwarder Peter James, who is responsible for building, binding and marbling some of the most important government documents: presidential pardon papers, death tributes to former presidents, first ladies and members of Congress, copies of the U.S. Code and the findings of blue-ribbon panels such as the 9/11 Commission.

This means he's had access to sensitive information well before other government officials, the press and the public, but "Mum's the word."

"If a job comes in and they say, 'This goes nowhere,' it doesn't. It stays under lock and key while I'm working on it," he said.

Peter is a London native and learned his craft as a 15-year-old apprentice in the city's famed print shops. After traveling across Europe, he moved to the United States in his twenties, eventually became a U.S. citizen and started working for GPO 10 years ago.

"While my name's not on it, somewhere down the road, 200 years from now when they pull books out of the archives on debates up on the Hill, they're going to go, 'Look, they were still marbling in the 21st Century.'"

"Coming here was the best thing I ever did. I still say that today," he said.

Watch the video profile of Peter above and watch previous "Eye On..." videos here.

You can suggest future government employees or agencies to profile in the comments section below or by e-mailing federaleye@washingtonpost.com.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 7, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye On..., Video Report  
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