Van Jones, President Obama's former "Green Jobs Czar," spoke to Tavis Smiley in one of his first public interviews since his resignation last year.
Jones told Smiley he never signed the "truther" petition that was the catalyst downfall. The activist and author told Smiley about his "tough lesson":
Van Jones:... I believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy by Al-Qaida and Osama Bin Laden, and nobody else, trying to hurt America. What happened to me on that tough lesson learned for me, six years ago, I was at a conference, some people came up to me. They said, 'Hey, we represent 9-11 families.' I'm like, 'OK, good to meet you.' They said, 'We need your help. Will you help us?' I said, 'Sure, whatever you want.'
And then these people, I didn't know what their agenda was, they went and put my name on some abhorrent, crazy language they never showed me, I never saw. And it just sat there on this web site for years. Somebody discovered it, and then boom. So people actually believe that I actually signed onto something that I never saw and never signed onto. And that became part of the firestorm. I decided at that point that I needed to resign because I was becoming a distraction.
Jones resigned from his position at the White House in September 2008. He told Smiley that it was solely his decision to resign.
He has since joined the think tank Center For American Progress, and has been appointed as a fellow at Princeton University.