This week the White House visited on the CIA director what ranking Senate Intelligence Committee member Kit Bond declared a “hat trick” of unpleasant moves. With his prior attempts to mollify his base on national security having failed— and those troops even more bitter about the flagging fortunes of the “public option” in ObamaCare—the president wheeled out Mr. Panetta for one more round.

Reversing prior promises not to prosecute CIA officials who “acted in good faith,” Mr. Holder appointed a special counsel with the ability to prosecute officials who acted in good faith. This was paired with release of a 2004 CIA report that the administration spun as more proof of agency incompetence. As a finishing touch, the White House yanked the interrogation program out of Mr. Panetta’s hands, relocating it with the FBI. With friends like these . . .

If Mr. Panetta has learned one lesson on the job, it’s that he’s alone.