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Vetting Mysteries Unsolved

6:19 PM, Sep 6, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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According to the Washington Post, "Van Jones's Resignation Reveals Vetting Lapse."

Well, yes.

But what's interesting in the Post story (apart from the comical description of Jones as "a towering figure in the environmental movement") is this claim by "a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter":

"Jones's past was not studied as intensively as other advisers because of his relatively low rank....Moreover, as an adviser to the Council on Environmental Quality, rather than to Obama directly, Jones's past was not reviewed to the same degree as the more senior 'assistants to the president' and other top advisers inside the West Wing. The result was the recent revelations that, administration officials acknowledge, caught the White House off guard.'He was not as thoroughly vetted as other administration officials,' the official said. 'It's fair to say there were unknowns.'"

But I'm told the fact is an employee at Jones's level would have undergone a full-field background investigation by the FBI. That investigation would have included asking Jones about past statements and associations, as well as independently checking on them. So the questions remain: Did Jones tell the truth to the FBI? Who at the White House received the FBI report, and at what level was the decision made to clear him despite what must have been in the report? And was the president involved in that decision?