Secrets of Steve Jobs: Character Questioned in FBI File, Called “Deceptive”

Dusten Carlson

The late technology magnate (read: god) Steve Jobs apparently had himself an FBI file, thrown together back in 1991 when he was being considered by Bush the elder for appointment to public office. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, the file has been released to the Wall Street Journal, and if you want it, the 191-page document can be found here. Otherwise, stay tuned for some highlights:

– Jobs’ known use of drugs during his formative years comes up a lot in the file, but those interviewed vouched for Stevie, unanimously agreeing that those days were well behind him.

– Jobs has always been known as an uncompromising businessman, even a tad direct and a little “mean”. One man interviewed, who called himself a former “good friend” of Jobs, said that Steve-O is “basically … honest and trustworthy,” but that “his moral character is suspect.” Jobs, the man continued, “alienated a large number of people at Apple, as a result of his ambition.” Another source who apparently didn’t understand that the interview was about Steve Jobs wished to avoid talking about him entirely, due to “questions concerning his ethics and morality.”

– An attached memo summarizes the background investigation, saying: “Several individuals questioned Mr. Jobs’ honesty stating that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals.”

– In a bit of a low blow, some interviewees said that Jobs hadn’t been the best dad to his born-out-of-wedlock daughter or her mother, until recently.

– One crowning piece of information, an interviewee described Jobs as “a deceptive individual who who is not completely forthright and honest.” Others said Jobs “has integrity as long as he gets his way.”

– It’s not all bad though! Two interviewees called Jobs “hardworking and driven,” and another complimented his studies in eastern religion, saying that they improved his life.

I think it’s pretty much assumed that if you’re going to make it to the top, you’ve got to step on some folks along the way. But what do you think of Steve Jobs’ FBI profile? Easy to believe or hard to swallow?