Having just been regaled by news via Jane Hamsher that Judy Miller “will pick up a First Amendment Award at the 2005 Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Convention & National Journalism Conference on Oct. 18 in Las Vegas,” it was heartening to read A.P. reporter Pete Yost’s latest.

Yost’s article, posted minutes ago at the S.F. Chronicle site, is optimistically titled, “Prosecutor Nears Decision in CIA Probe.”

Yost reveals how Fitzgerald — who “has burnished his reputation as a tough, hard-charging prosecutor” — engineered the personal contact between Scooter Libby and Judith Miller.

It was Fitzgerald’s letter to Libby’s lawyer in September that helped resolve the impasse over Miller, resulting in her testimony.

Yost also sums up how the White House’s strategy has shifted
“[a]s the evidence has emerged.”

Bush now says he will fire someone only if the person committed a crime. Also, lawyers no longer contest that their clients discussed the identity of Wilson’s wife with reporters. Instead, the lawyers are trying to make the case that exposing her covert status was inadvertent and not part of a conspiracy.

About that tantalizing headline — “Prosecutor Nears Decision in CIA Probe” — Yost writes:

…[Fitzgerald] is nearing a decision on whether to file criminal charges after assembling evidence that top presidential aides had numerous contacts with reporters in the matter.

… Fitzgerald has a variety of options as he weighs whether anyone broke a law that bars the intentional unmasking of a CIA officer. Defense lawyers increasingly are concerned Fitzgerald might pursue other charges such as false statements, obstruction of justice or mishandling classified information.

Before those decisions are made, presidential confidant Karl Rove will make a fourth grand jury appearance, as early as Friday. …

Lest we get too elated, there are these sobering words from the ever-angry Moscow Times columnist, Chris Floyd … Below:

… These murdering liars: it just chokes you with fury, what they’ve done — and what they will get away with. For be assured: even if Patrick Fitzgerald makes all our dreams come true, handing down indictments for Karl Rove, “Scooter” Libby and even the great sulphurous belch of corruption that is Dick Cheney, Bush will simply pardon them all — just like Papa did in his last days in office, with a bagful of pardons that quashed the investigation into the Iran-Contra scam (which was, in many respects, a very similar act of warmongering treason).

What’s more, even if — in the wildest dream on the edge of possibility — Bush himself gets caught in the cross-hairs, there’s always the old Nixon-Ford ploy. You take a pliable outsider and say: “I’ll make you Vice President if you promise to pardon me when I’m gone and you take over.” Cheney — an old Nixon White House hand who became Ford’s chief of staff and was a top insider in all the Bush I machinations — knows how to play this game. Sure, if worst comes to worst, you may have to step down from office — but nobody does time, and more importantly, nobody loses any money.

No, these guys will sleep on feather-beds for the rest of their lives, feted — and fattened with cash — in the gilded bubble of the right-wing elite. The fix is in — and as always, it is the innocent, the weak and the most vulnerable in the world who will pay the cost for the crimes of these bloated, bloodsoaked liars.

God I hope he’s wrong. And I bet he does too.

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