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FBI releases harsh 191-page background file on Steve Jobs

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation released today a 191-page background file on late Apple co-founder and chief executive Steve Jobs. Compiled in 1991, the dossier is made up of information gathered through interviews with friends and associates of Jobs, who was at the time under consideration for a presidential appointment under George H.W. Bush.

Since this profile of Jobs was compiled by the FBI, much of the information about the man has become widely known. Things like ruthlessness, ambition, vision, and a command for respect — attributes commonly mentioned about Jobs — are all present. As are details like Jobs’ experimentation with illegal drugs, which included LSD, hashish and marijuana, prior to his business career.

What is surprising, however, is how harshly some of the interviewees — whose names were redacted from the document — described Jobs, especially concerning honesty and integrity.

“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 document. “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.”

This theme of questionable integrity is repeated throughout the file. “[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,” reads one section of the file. “She stated she was somewhat reluctant to discuss the Appointee since she has questions concerning his ethics and his morality,” reads another. And: “[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.”

Despite these negative opinions of Jobs, the majority of those interviewed said they believed Jobs was fit for a position in government. Though one interviewee summed up the over-arching sentiment of Jobs presented in the file:

“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. He therefore recommended the Appointee for a position of trust and confidence with the Government.”

Jobs was not appointed to the position.

Read the full document here.