Late Friday, after being called out by Leon Panetta for lying about the CIA’s effort to “mislead” her, Nancy Pelosi trotted out this:

“We all share great respect for the dedicated men and women of the intelligence community who are deeply committed to the safety and security of the American people,” she said in a statement issued by her office. “My criticism of the manner in which the Bush Administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe.

Ah, . . . no. She made a serious accusation against the CIA, has been called on it and now seeks to shift her allegation to the amorphous and all-purpose political punching bag, the “Bush administration.” I’m thinking a Truth Commission is in order. Pelosi can ask and answer the questions and then cross-examine herself.

We have seen some embarrassing displays by politicians in recent years — lying, incompetence, and confusion. But rarely all three in such vivid terms.

You have to laugh — but the mainstream and liberal punditocracy aren’t going to rush to defend her — because it’s Obama on the other side. David Ignatius writes:

To escape from the charge that she was briefed about — and implicitly condoned — interrogation methods that she now calls torture, Pelosi is accusing the Central Intelligence Agency of lying. And not just the Bush-era CIA, mind you, but the Obama CIA as well.

Yes, we can’t have that. So Ignatius eggs on Obama to stand by Panetta — and presumably finish off Pelosi. Ignatius observes:

 Playing politics with the CIA is a way of life on Capitol Hill — love ’em when they’re up, trash ’em when they’re down. Republicans and Democrats both play this game, from administration to administration. Rarely, though, has it been as naked as in Pelosi’s case. Having climbed up a very tall tree, she is now watching — and yelping — as the CIA saws off the limb.

Well perhaps neither the CIA nor Obama will have to do much sawing. Pelosi’s doing an expert job of hanging herself.