The FBI has released, and posted on its web site, Steve Jobs' 191-page FBI file. Read it here. The file consists of a 1991 background investigation conducted when Jobs was being considered for an appointment to the President's Export Council in the Bush I White House, and records of a 1985 bomb threat against him.
We're still reading the files, but here's a taste, from a memo summarizing the background investigation:
Several individuals commented concerning past drug use on the part of Mr. Jobs.
Several individuals questioned Mr. Jobs' honesty stating that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals. They also commented that, in the past, Mr. Jobs was not supportive of [redacted] (the mother of his child born out of wedlock) and their daughter; however, recently has become supportive.
[Redacted] advised that he has been acquainted with Mr. Jobs since [redacted]. He characterized Mr. Jobs as a deceptive individual who who is not completely forthright and honest.
[Redacted] advised that he is no longer friends with Mr. Jobs. He feels bitter toward and alienated by Mr. Jobs based on his association with Mr. Jobs at ACI. He characterized Mr. Jobs as an honest and trustworthy individual; however, his moral character is questionable.
They further stated that Mr. Jobs has integrity as long as he gets his way.
She stated she was somewhat reluctant to discuss the Appointee since she has questions concerning his ethics and his morality.
I've read the files from a lot of background FBI investigations; it's pretty rare in my experience that this much derogatory information gets dredged up. Often the agents only interview employers and people who are suggested by the candidate. It's obviously unclear who these quoted folks are, but if they were among the people Jobs referred the agents to, then he didn't know his friends very well.
In Jobs' defense, many of the people interviewed attested to his upstanding moral character. And even those who savaged him still recommended him for the appointment,
which he didn't get. As one put it: "[H]e believed the Appointee has what it takes to assume a high level political position within the Government, which in his opinion, honesty and integrity are not prerequisites to assume such a position."
Another weird thing revealed in the file: Steve Jobs had a Top Secret security clearance. He received in 1988, and it was terminated in 1990. The records aren't clear as to why he needed it, but the "employing agency" associated with the clearance was Pixar.
UPDATE: A source who worked with Jobs emailed to say "several people had security clearances at Pixar since, in the early days, they were selling an image rendering software system that could be used to enhance satellite surveillance photographs and film. There was even a Chernobyl demo. They thought that the 'spooks' would provide a huge market."
[Image via Getty]