Saturday, January 05, 2008

Congressional Circus Back in Town

They still don't know who destroyed the CIA interrogation tapes or ordered the firing of US attorneys, but Capitol Hill bloodhounds will stop at nothing to find out if Roger Clemens used steroids.

On January 15th, the House Oversight Committee starts two days of hearings to pursue this pressing national issue, a month after the well-publicized Mitchell Report was issued and ten days after Clemens appears on 60 Minutes.

"It could be a circus with players, true," the Committee's minority staff director, David Marin, admits. "But if you tailor it right and invite people who clearly have pertinent information about the substance of the report, then it's anything but a circus. It's substantive."

The lawmakers will be following in the footsteps of Mike Wallace, whose grilling of Clemens to be shown tomorrow night elicits testimony that he only took legal injections of Lidocaine and B-12, not steroids.

"Swear?" Wallace asks Clemens. "Swear," Clemens answers. Would the Rocket lie to CBS' 89-year-old icon? Congress will put him under oath to find out.

In 2005, the same panel questioned other baseball stars and got blanket denials, but this time with 400 pages of documents and rumors compiled by a former Senate Majority Leader and paid for by anxious team owners, the results may very well be different.

One of the eagerly anticipated witnesses will be former New York Yankees All-Star second baseman Chuck Knoblauch, who intrigued observers of the national pastime some years back by suddenly losing the ability to make an accurate throw to first base without the aid of a Seeing Eye dog. Could steroids have had anything to do with that?

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