TIME White House correspondent Jay Branegan says Judge Norma Holloway Johnson's ruling wasn't too surprising legally, considering that such a 'secret-service privilege' was utterly without precedent. But it's another major victory for Ken Starr. "He's yet to lose a procedural battle in the courts," says, "and each one makes his tactics a little harder to criticize." President Clinton was quick to paint the decision as still more evidence of a right-wing world gone mad. "It never occurred to anybody that anyone would ever be so insensitive to the responsibility of the Secret Service that this kind of legal question would arise," he said moments after the decision.
Ken Starr says he's merely after the truth, and that he only wants the testimony of a few agents. But many outside this White House -- George Bush wrote a letter to Starr defending the Service's position -- worry that Starr's short-term objective could have dangerous consequences down the road.