Delay, Delay, Delay

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If the idea of President Clinton claiming executive privilege to keep Ken Starr away from his legal team sounds desperate, that's because it is. "Executive privilege is reserved for three things: military or diplomatic secrets, and matters of national security," says TIME Washington Deputy Bureau Chief J.F.O. McAllister. "It's hard to imagine a court ruling that Monica Lewinsky's sex life falls into any of those."

The other option is attorney-client privilege, which would cover Clinton's conversations with his top lawyer, Bruce Lindsey -- but only if no one else was around. "It's very easy to pierce," McAllister says. John Podesta, for instance, who testified Thursday, was in on most of those meetings, not to mention other staffers. And though Podesta's a lawyer, his capacity as deputy chief of staff is political. Says McAllister: "If he can listen in, the law says Starr can too."

Neither of these gambits, then, is a good bet to hold up under a judge's scrutiny. And both of them make the President look like he's lying. But of course he may be lying. If that's the case, fighting Starr in the courts buys the White House what it cherishes most: time. The plan, says McAllister, is to delay things a while and "hope that they catch a break." That's the Administration mantra: The later America finds out, the better.