The Washington Independent has turned up a six-year-old petition Jones signed alleging government complicity in the September 11 terror attacks. This comes just one day after The Hill reported the existence of a video clip recorded in February in which Jones referred to Republicans - and himself - as "a**holes."
Jones joined the Obama administration in May. He was the founder of a green jobs advocacy organization based in Oakland, Ca.
The online petition, issued in October 2004, demanded an "immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur." The signatories called for an investigation into "incriminating evidence" they said either was ignored or not sufficiently considered by the Kean Commission, which was set up to look into the circumstances surrounding the attacks.
In the video which made the rounds yesterday, Jones is seen responding to a question why Congressional Democrats were not as successful as Republicans in pushing through their legislative agenda. (See below.)
"Well, the answer to that is, they're a**holes," Jones said. "And Barack Obama is not an a**hole. Now, I will say this: I can be an a**hole, and some of us who are not Barack Hussein Obama, are going to have to start getting a little bit uppity [to get things done]."
In a statement subsequently sent over to Politico by his office, Jones expressed contrition for his recorded remarks. "These comments, made before I joined the administration, were clearly inappropriate and I apologize for the offensive words I chose to use during that speech. They do not reflect the views of this administration, which has made every effort to work in a bipartisan fashion, and they do not reflect the experience I have had since I joined the administration."
Conservatives were already clamoring for Jones head - especially after Fox News host Glenn Beck devoted Monday and Tuesday segments of his nightly broadcast portraying Jones as a radical linked in some way, shape or form to the worldviews of Hugo Chavez, Jeremiah Wright, and, of course, Barack Obama. Right wing bloggers have since demanded that the president fire Jones, who they depict as a subversive bent on fomenting revolution. (For more, check out the Van Jones thread on Twitter.)
Tonight Jake Tapper is reporting that Jones has issued a statement that he did not agree with the petition "and it certainly does not reflect my views now or ever."
At the same time, Jones said that "in recent days some in the news media have reported on past statements I made before I joined the administration – some of which were made years ago. If I have offended anyone with statements I made in the past, I apologize."