Nobody comes out well of this...
Nobody comes well out the Guardian's revelations this morning (bar the Guardian, which seems to have a great investigative scoop on its hands).
Not the News of the World, whose newsroom seems to have spun out of control with its use -- on a massive scale -- of potentially criminal methods to get stories.
Not News International, the paper's owner, which, says the Guardian, has paid out hundreds of thousands of pounds in out of court settlements to sweep the whole matter under the carpet.
Not the rest of Fleet Street, much of which may have relied on the same private investigators as the News of the World. Just look at how some papers this morning could barely bring themselves to touch this story.
Not the police who, apparently presented with evidence of widespread criminal activity, took very little action. Indeed it is possible that, despite evidence that the then Deputy Prime Minister might have had his phone compromised, they didn't even inform him.
Not the Crown Prosecution Service, which seems to have gone along with News International version of events that there was no systemic invasion of privacy involving scores of journalists, just a rogue journalist and a dodgy private investigator.
Not the court system, which, according to the Guardian, has been complicit in making sure the details did not become public by agreeing to the facts being locked away in sealed files.
Not the Press Complaints Commission, which is meant to regulate the press, but which found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Not Rupert Murdoch, the boss of News International, who claims, extraordinarily, that he knows nothing of £1m out of court settlements. (Hard to believe he's "allowed the lunatics to take over the asylum", as one former Murdoch editor put it to me this morning).
Not for Andy Coulson, now David Cameron's spin doctor in chief but the deputy editor and editor when what the Guardian calls "his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories" took place.
Mr Coulson says he knew nothing of illegal activities though he did resign in the wake of the jailing of his royal correspondent.
Many will find it hard to believe the editor knew nothing if the malpractice was as wide and systemic as the Guardian claims. Others will say if he didn't know, he should have. Some might think he was either incompetent or complicit. Either way, Mr Cameron has a problem on his hands, though not as big as the one Mr Murdoch is holding.
If, as the Guardian claims, between 2,000 and 3,000 people were targeted and had their privacy breached in various ways, then some of the names already mentioned could get together to mount a multi-million pound class action against the Murdoch company. Just starting that process would almost certainly unseal the documents. Then more than the cat would be out of the bag ... and the potential damages unlimited.
As they used to say in Fleet Street, this story will run and run and run ....
Andrew Neil, BBC political editor Nick Robinson and Former Home Secretary Charles Clarke on BBC Radio Four's Today show: