Presidential adviser Van Jones is resigning after coming under fire for signing a controversial petition regarding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The White House issued a statement late Saturday saying that Jones was giving up his post at the Council on Environmental Quality, where he helped coordinate government agencies focused on delivering millions of green jobs to the ailing U.S. economy. Jones, who denied agreeing with the petition and issued an apology last week, said he was a victim of health-care reform opponents. “On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me,” Jones said in the statement. “They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.” “But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future,” Jones said. The Jones controversy centers on a 2004 petition he signed on a Web site that said: “A call for immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11 attacks to occur.” An administration source told CNN that Jones did not carefully review the language on the petition.