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White House aide’s 9/11 conspiracy theories cloud his future. It’s not easy being green.

September 4, 2009 |  9:24 am

He is the green jobs czar at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the aide who’s supposed to offer inspiration and input on how to convert the nation’s creaky, Saudi-dependent oil economy into the idyllic bliss of energy independence.

Van Jones is much respected in enviro circles, praised for his bestselling book, “The Green Collar Economy.”  Former Vice President Al Gore told the New Yorker, “I love Van Jones.” And actor Leonardo DiCaprio said of him in Time magazine, “Steadily -- by redefining green -- Jones is making sure that our planet and our people will not just survive but also thrive in a clean-energy economy.”

But right now Van Jones is in a toxic dump full of trouble.

Wednesday he had to apologize after video surfaced of an appearance he made in Berkeley in February in which he called Republicans an anatomical expletive deemed inappropriate for this family newspaper, which this isn't but rules are rules.

Then Thursday the Yale University grad, a onetime Marxist who was arrested during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, was forced to issue a statement apologizing for his signature on a petition. The petition, to then-New York Atty Gen. Eliot Spitzer, urged an investigation into whether 9/11 was an inside job by George W. Bush to soften public opinion for a war in Iraq.

“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,” he said in the statement. “If I have offended anyone with statements I made in the past, I apologize. As for the petition ... I do not agree with this statement and it certainly does not reflect my views now or ever.”

Score one for Glenn Beck, the Fox News commentator who has been hammering on Jones for days. Take a look.

Turns out, as our friends at The Times’ Show Tracker noted, that Jones co-founded Color of Change, an African American political advocacy group that organized an advertising boycott of Beck’s show

They used to say that the power of the press belonged to those who owned one. I guess these days it’s those who have the loudest megaphone.

 Either way, the White House is standing by Jones, for now.

-- Johanna Neuman

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