Steve Jobs FBI file released
The 191-page file on Steve Jobs paints an occasionally unflattering portrait of the late Apple founder.
Thu, Feb 09 2012 at 8:44 PM
BACKGROUND CHECK: The report was compiled during a 1991 background investigation of Jobs by the FBI after former president George H.W. Bush recommended his appointment to the President's Export Council. (Photo: AFP)
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation released a 191-page file on Steve Jobs that paints an occasionally unflattering portrait of the late Apple founder.
The report was compiled during a 1991 background investigation of Jobs by the FBI after former president George H.W. Bush recommended his appointment to the President's Export Council.
It consists of interviews with co-workers, friends, family members and even neighbors of Jobs, who died on October 5 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56.
The names of the persons interviewed by the FBI have been redacted from the file released following a Freedom of Information Act request by The Wall Street Journal although their places of employment are frequently identified.
The FBI also interviewed Jobs for the background check — after first being told he would be unavailable for three weeks and could only spare an hour.
Jobs told the FBI he had not used any illegal drugs during the past five years but he had experimented with marijuana, hashish and LSD between 1970-74 while in high school and college.
The report notes that Jobs had been involved in several lawsuits as chief executive of Apple but had never been arrested and was not a member of the communist party.
Jobs, who had left Apple at the time of the background check and was head of NeXT Computer, was described by some of those interviewed as "strongwilled, stubborn, hardworking and driven," the report said, even a "genius."
"They further stated, however that Mr. Jobs possesses integrity as long as he gets his way," the report said.
"Several individuals questioned Mr. Jobs' honesty stating that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals," it said.
"Appointee is very truthful and straightforward with people and usually says exactly what he is thinking," it added.
The report also delved into Jobs' relationship with his former girlfriend and their daughter.
"In the past, Mr. Jobs was not supportive of (the mother of his child born out of wedlock) and their daughter: however, recently has become more supportive," it said.
Jobs, in a recent authorized biography by Walter Isaacson, acknowledged both his drug use and that he had not initially been close to his daughter.
One woman interviewed by the FBI said Job's personal life was "lacking due to his narcissism and shallowness" but he has "far reaching vision."
"She also stated that his success at Apple... also caused him at times to lose sight of honesty and integrity and even caused him to distort the truth at times to get his way," the report said.
Another person said Jobs "had undergone a change in philosophy by participating in eastern and/or Indian mysticism and religion.
"This change apparently influenced the Appointee's personal life for the better," the FBI said. "The Appointee lives more of a spartanlike and at times even monastic existence."
While some of those interviewed had reservations about Jobs's character, all of them said they would recommend him for a "position of trust and confidence with the U.S. government."
Along with the background check file, the FBI released the report of its investigation into a February 1985 bomb threat against Apple in which an unidentified caller demanded $1 million.
No bombs were ever found and no money changed hands.
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition