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WASHINGTON – An environmental adviser for President Barack Obama,Van Jones, has resigned amid controversy over past inflammatory statements, the White House said early Sunday.

Van Jones, an administration official specializing in environmentally friendly “green jobs,” has been linked to efforts suggesting a government role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to derogatory comments about Republicans.

Jones issued an apology on Thursday. When asked the next day whether Obama still had confidence in him, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said only that Jones “continues to work in the administration.”

The matter surfaced after news reports of a derogatory comment Jones made in the past about Republicans, and separately, of Jones’s name appearing on a petition connected to the events surrounding 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon.

That 2004 petition had asked for congressional hearings and other investigations into whether high-level government officers had allowed the attacks to occur.

Jones flatly said in his statement that he did not agree with the petition’s stand and that “it certainly does not reflect my views, now or ever.”

As for his other comments he made before joining Obama’s team, Jones said: “If I have offended anyone with statements I made in the past, I apologize.”

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