While that would fly in the face of unanimous advice from the AG's four predecessors, Reno is more likely to listen to Secret Service director Lewis Merletti -- who has vowed to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. Merletti, who has spent the last few months issuing dark warnings of a future presidential assassination if Starr gets his way, wants to create a new kind of executive privilege for his agents. Another privilege battle -- just what Starr needs right now.
They're sworn to protect the President; now Janet Reno is set to step into the ring to protect them from testifying. The Secret Service got a boost late Monday when the Justice Department filed a brief notice of intent to appeal last month's ruling from Judge Norma Holloway Johnson, which compelled Secret Service agents to testify in Ken Starr's Lewinsky probe. While that doesn't guarantee a DOJ appeal, it does leave the door open for Reno to challenge her own independent counsel in the courts.