And you thought the Walter Isaacson biography of the late Apple founder was a riveting read. The FBI on Tuesday released its incredibly thorough, 191-page report on Steve Jobs.
The report, dated 1991, details the FBI’s background investigation into Jobs and includes damning interviews with former classmates and colleagues, some of which had business and personal grievances against him.
Several blasted the Apple founder as “a deceptive individual who is not completely forthright and honest,” and a person whose “moral character is questionable.” The file also included interview subjects’ secondhand descriptions of the situation regarding Jobs’ daughter Lisa, born out of wedlock, whom Jobs “mistreated by not supporting” initially, and Jobs’ own admitted history of psychedelic drug use. (Jobs admitted as much to the FBI, according to the file.)
Many of the interview comments were supportive of Jobs, however, with even some of those who spoke against him admitting he would make a good government appointee.
Jobs was at the time being considered for a position on President George H.W. Bush’s Export Council, an advisory committee on international trade matters. He did not end up getting the job.
The report also details a 1985 investigation of a bomb threat against Apple.
Here’s some of the FBI’s paraphrasing from those people interviewed by the FBI in the background check, whose names remain redacted.
The following quotes come from an interview with one source:
“He characterized Mr. Jobs as a deceptive individual who is not completely forthright and honest. He stated that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals.”
“[Redacted] also advised that he was aware that Mr. Jobs used illegal drugs, including marijuana and LSD, while they were attending college. [Redacted] commented that he never personally observed Mr. Jobs use any drugs or abuse alcohol.”
“[Redacted] further stated that, approximately [Redacted] years ago, Mr. Jobs and his girlfriend, [Redacted], had a daughter born out of wedlock…[Redacted] related that Mr. Jobs mistreated them by not supporting them; however, recently Mr. Jobs has been more supportive.”
“…M. Jobs basically abandoned [redacted] and their daughter; however, lately he has been more supportive of them.”
“[Redacted] advised that he is no longer friends with Mr. Jobs. He feels bitter towards and alienated by Mr. Jobs based on his association with Mr. Jobs at ACI [Apple Computer, Inc.]. He characterized Mr. Jobs as an honest and trustworthy individual; however, his moral character is questionable. [Redacted] explained that he [Redacted] did not receive any stock, which would have made him quite wealthy now.”
“…Mr. Jobs alienated alot of people at ACI as a result of his ambition.”
“…the Appointee grew up in the late sixties and early seventies when drug use was prevalent and that she and the Appointee both experimented with various drugs although she would not be more specific as to the kinds of drugs involved, other than to say that experimentation was involved. She added the Appointee is extremely health conscious now and rarely even drinks but will occasionally have wine socially.”
“She added that a 1983 Time Magazine article by a MICHAEL (Last Name Unknown) provided a rather accurate description of the Appointee, in terms of his being a visionary and charismatic individual who was at the same time shallow and callous to people in his personal relationships. She described his personal life as being lacking due to his narcissism and shallowness.”
“…the Appointee wil twist the truth in order to achieve whatever goal he has set for himself. He therefore considered the Appointee to be a deceptive person. He provided an example of this deceptive characteristic of the Appointee. [Redacted]”
“He had heard reports from mutual friends and also an admission by the Appointee that he freely used illicit drugs during his college tenure, to include marijuana and LSD. He never actually observed the Appointee use any drugs or consume alcohol to excess.”
Finally, the FBI itself notes Jobs’ overal dismissive attitude, pointing out that Jobs refused meeting with an FBI agent “for one hour,” to conduct an interview, and wouldn’t be available for three weeks.
The entire report is fascinating for its breadth and depth. Read it here.