The FBI file of Steven Paul Jobs

In 1991, the FBI began interviewing Steve Jobs and people he worked with, as the CEO of Next Inc. "began to be considered as a candidate for sensitive, presidential appointments."

Here is Steve Jobs' FBI file, released under the Freedom of Information Act.

"Several individuals questioned Mr. Jobs' honesty stating that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals," reads the FBI summary.

Other elements of note: as a student, he had a 2.65 GPA. There was a bomb threat against him in 1985. There's a passing reference to a "hippie friend" on whose apple orchard the man who would later co-found Apple worked. And there's an excellent specimen of early 1990s FBI fax art, page 129.

You'll be shocked, shocked I say, to learn that Apple has declined to comment on the file's release. More context: WaPo, Wired, LA Times, SF Chron.

(Photo: Jobs beneath a photograph of him and Apple-co founder Steve Wozniak from the early days of Apple during the launch of the iPad in San Francisco, January 27, 2010. REUTERS.)


    1. It’s sad to see such an emphasis put on only the negative things said by disgruntled employees who didn’t received stock options they felt they were entitled to.

      In reality, the opinions conflicted.  Xeni failed to mention that another person said Jobs possessed “high moral character and integrity.”

      Also, how did you guys miss the part about the extortion attempt with bombs?


      By the way, I converted the PDF with OCR, etc. to a searchable PDF, so you too can find words like “bomb”, “horrible person”, etc. within the dossier.

      Get it while it’s hot:

      1. Not true in all cases, look at poor Margaret Thatcher, still alive yet senile, and a movie about her life on the big screen, how disgusting is that? Thankfully,  it’s getting poor ratings, maybe because people feel the way I do. 

        Flux may be as irritated as me, so much stuff about Jobs surfaced within just a few days after his death. Now he’s not around to defend himself, his honor, his name. 

    1. He’s dead.  It isn’t like anything anyone can say can hurt him.  Not that things people said about him hurt him much when he was alive either, really.

      Now if you wanted to say “the guy left behind four kids – leave his memory alone for a while ’cause they’re still mourning” that’s an argument I could get behind.

      1. So a guy has to have kids to defend his name? Really? No wonder heteros are so screwed up. A man without children or a wife can wield a sword too. 

      1. “One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.”

        Well, one thing’s for certain; Hearsay within an FBI dossier certainly contains nothing but truth.

  1. Young people, look away! Obviously most people who do marijuana and LSD end up dead on the street after being shanked by their pimp. Only occassionally do they go on to fundamentally influence technology and contemporary culture.

    1. I knew that would come up! Just because someone takes drugs does not mean they are immune from being an arse.

      (I want the government out of my head as much as the next boingboinger)

      1. I think he was a massive arse, but his contribution to our current use of technology is pretty hard to ignore. I was just making a pithy comment about the war on drugs. Pithy, I say.

      2. Likewise:

        ~Just because someone doesn’t take drugs does not mean they are immune from being an arse.~ 

        Works both ways, it’s a great excuse for people who do stupid things to say they were on drugs or drunk at the time, it’s a socially accepted defense to assery. 

  2. Page 54: He concluded by saying that although he does not consider the Appointee to be a personal friend, he 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. 

  3. Smoked dope, dropped acid, and bent truth a bit to his own ends?

    I had no idea that Steve Jobs was so… normal.

  4. Irony:take out Steve Jobs’ name and insert the name of any politician.  Of course, odds are politician’s are more prone to sexual pecadilloes than drug use.  The only difference being, I doubt Jobs had designs on any political appointment.

  5. Don: s-t-e-v-e-w-o-z-n-i-a-k ?

    I think Woz walks on water – I doubt he was an informant.  He simply complied with an FBI request to be interviewed, like most of us would.  I suppose I could ask next month when he’ll be in town for a lecture.

  6. Uh, Jobs’s SSN is visible for 10 pages on the bottom of the “Questionnaire for Sensitive Positions” form (page 8-17). Not exactly expertly redacted.

  7. So the first part is U.S. form SF-86. This is a form you fill out to provide background information when you are applying for a “sensitive position” within the U.S. government. I assume Jobs filled this out to be considered for a Presidential cabinet role. But it’s possible that Ross Perot, who was a major investor in NeXT (which Steve was President of at the time), was trying to convince Jobs to run with him on his ticket for the 1992 campaign. I’m not sure whether Presidential candidates have to fill out SF-86 or not.

    Form SF-86 is still in use today, albeit much longer:

    Interesting to note: question 30a on the SF-86 form Jobs filled out asks, “Have you ever been a member, officer, or employee of the Communist Party?” The version of the form Jobs used was last revised in 1987, so I suppose Communists were still the villian du jour. In the latest version of the form this question is gone, but instead there are questions about involvement in hacking systems and involvement in terrorist groups. I imagine soon they’ll revise it to include protesting.

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