FBI investigated Steve Jobs' reality distortion field, LSD use
Sex, drugs and bomb threats
Steve Jobs' drug use, court cases and personality flaws were all investigated by the FBI, as a file released on Thursday reveals.
The FBI launched the investigation in 1991 to vet Jobs for a potential post in government under George Bush Snr - an appointment to an advisory committee on foreign trade. It's a popular role for technology management, with Xerox CEO Ursula Burns and Verizon boss Ivan Seidenberg currently serving.
The secret agent assigned to his case interviewed dozens of Jobs' colleagues, friends, employees, neighbours and ex-lovers, questioning them about Jobs' use of drugs and general behaviour. The report also confirmed that Jobs was not a member of the communist party.
Perhaps the most inaccurate report from the whole thing comes from Jobs' next-door neighbour who described him as "a quiet and unassuming individual who never caused any problems".
Interviews with former Apple colleagues - Jobs had been out of Apple for 6 years by that point - turned up the cattiest remarks. One described Jobs as "technically orientated but is in the opinion of many not an engineer, since he actually never got an engineering degree from College and has been successful in business by delegating tasks to people."
Other former colleagues from the Apple said he was "a deceptive individual" who alienated a lot of people with his ambition. One commented that Mr Jobs had "personal integrity as long as he got his own way".
An ex-lover , and former drug-taking partner, described "his personal life as being lacking due to his narcissism and shallowness."
Jobs however got a glowing report from a colleague at Pixar, who described him as:
an extremely intelligent individual, a true leader, who has made a difference in the computer industry and given the opportunity would make a positive contribution on the national scene
But the Pixite does drop a hint about Jobs' difficult interpersonal behaviour: "An individual dealing with appointee must know what he is talking about present a strong case or appointee will disregard the discussion and sometimes the individual".
A NeXT employee commented that Jobs liked brainstorming and was good at meditating, another neighbour mentioned that Jobs was a keen jogger.
Of particular concern to the FBI was Jobs' drug use, but despite hearing a lot about the LSD in his college days, the agent failed to find any evidence of his use of drugs in later years. Jobs admitted to them that he took marijuana, hashish and LSD between 1970-74, but no longer indulged. Other fun facts include Jobs' weight in 1991 - 160lbs, and his high school grade point average at Homestead High: 2.65 out of 4.
The files also detail an elaborate bomb threat to Apple’s Cupertino headquarters on Feb 7th 1985. A caller claimed that three bombs had been placed in the homes of certain Apple individuals and a fourth was in a mystery location and would go off if the authorities were contacted. He demanded a ransom of $1m, and said instructions for its delivery would be left at the San Francisco Hilton Hotel under a table next to the candy machine.
It took a while to get through to Jobs, and the plot proved fruitless after Jobs told the caller that he didn’t believe him, and no further calls were received. A subsequent investigation found no bombs, no instruction and no fingerprints on the telephone used to make the call, which was traced to a parking garage at San Francisco International Airport. The caller was never found.
The FBI agent also got a little bit of the Jobs arrogance first hand - asking to meet with Jobs to interview him on behalf of the White House. The Agent was told by Jobs' secretary that Jobs couldn't meet him for three weeks, not even for an hour. ®