Capitol Offense

A congressional aide's bloody past

The story -- a brutal attack on a college student in a nearby Virginia suburb -- was 15 years old, but when the Washington Post retold it last week, Capitol Hill seemed unable to concentrate on anything else. The reason went beyond the sheer savagery of the act: the attacker, John Mack, 35, is now the top aide to beleaguered Speaker of the House Jim Wright and arguably the most powerful staffer in Congress.

That Mack had a criminal record was no secret. Even so, there was horror at the viciousness and randomness of his crime as it was recounted by...

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