After a week of increasingly desperate, cowardly excuses, she saved the best for last. Mind-boggling.

“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.

“What is important now is to be united in our commitment to ensuring the security of our country; that, and how Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities, will continue to be my focus as we move forward.”

I don’t know what she could possibly mean by this after yesterday’s “the CIA misleads us all the time” sandbagging unless she’s now accusing Team Bush of pulling aside the agents in charge of briefings and ordering them to lie. Which is insane given that (a) by her own admission, agents did brief Congress about waterboarding Abu Zubaydah by early 2003; (b) in the political climate of the time, with Democrats gung ho to prove their “toughness” on terrorism, Bush had less to fear that they’d be squeamish about waterboarding if he told them than that they’d be enraged if he didn’t tell them because he thought they might be squeamish; and (c) according to Pelosi’s logic here, if this is all just another of the Bushitler’s conspiracies, then her failure to mention it until now means she’s been essentially covering for George Bush.

I don’t think she’s accusing Bush of anything here, actually. This statement is no more or less than her way of waving the white flag, eating her words about the CIA before she does any more damage or stumbles into any more idiotic non sequiturs about creating jobs in response to torture queries, and mindlessly dumping the whole thing in the lap of the left’s all-purpose villain. She gives up. It’s all Bush’s fault, even if it isn’t. No further questions, please.

At least Steny Hoyer claims to believe her now, even if the White House doesn’t. Needless to say, the longer this drags out, the more reminiscent it is of the Democrats’ turn on Iraq. When Pelosi had an opportunity to act and stop something she (supposedly) thought was wrong, she kept her mouth shut good and tight lest it jeopardize the party’s chances at the polls in a time of war. Now, after the die is cast, she wants truth commissions and investigations and tribunals to purge the guilt and please her base. Too bad the left is so stridently opposed to “preemptive” action; it would have saved them a lot of grief six years ago.