FBI gathered file on Apple’s Steve Jobs

The FBI kept a file on Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, according to documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

The 191-page backgrounder was gathered in 1991 at the behest of President George H.W. Bush, who was considering Jobs for a seat on the President’s Export Council.

Jobs, 56, died last October of pancreatic cancer after stepping down from Apple. The FBI file corroborates revelations that appear in Walter Isaacson’s biography of the man behind the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac computers.

The FBI spoke with many of Jobs’ friends and associates, who “describe him as profoundly talented, creative and hardworking. But his many faults are also acknowledged including the fact that he neglected his daughter for the first several years of her life and that his management techniques were considered by many to be abusive.”

The identities of those interviewed were not disclosed. One person who identified himself as a former good friend said Jobs was “honest and trustworthy” but also a “very complex individual” who alienated a large number of people at Apple.

The FBI also asked those interviewed about drug use, which Jobs acknowledged when he was younger. Most told the agency they didn’t believe he used drugs in later years.

The Journal obtained the FBI file under the Freedom of Information Act.

34 comments Add your comment


February 9th, 2012
4:35 pm

The Feds are always “watching”!


February 9th, 2012
4:36 pm

Wait, Steve Jobs is dead? I just got a new iPhone. Are they going to keep making them?

Hetch Hetchy

February 9th, 2012
4:53 pm

Jobs admitted to lsd and marijuana use, also. Looks like he didn’t get the position.


February 9th, 2012
4:56 pm

That’s what is called Freedom! and I guess Big Government but who was the one watching GW Bush a Republican. I thought they don’t like Big Government and Freedom?


February 9th, 2012
5:01 pm

Now wait a minute. Jobs was being considered for a government position. Presumably, the people who were interviewed knew this and were interviewed voluntarily. They weren’t spying on him for the fun of it — they weren’t spying on him at all — they were doing a background check.


February 9th, 2012
5:21 pm

Bush could have waited it is all in the book and 30 bucks is a lot cheaper that what at his bequest it must have cost back then. I thought Jobs was Democrat, his widow was at the State of the Union speech last month.


February 9th, 2012
5:26 pm

thanks for being the voice of reason mc…
the headline is misleading

Frank Furter

February 9th, 2012
5:51 pm


February 9th, 2012
7:11 pm

duh! the gov already has a file on everyone


February 9th, 2012
7:22 pm

MC is correct. I do these types of investigations for a living and there was nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with the FBI doing a security clearance investigation on Jobs.

Apple Fan Boy

February 9th, 2012
8:10 pm

How dare the government spy on one of the greatest humans ever. What’s worse is they made stuff up about his abusive managing style.

We miss you Steve.

Pay Per View Midget Wrestling

February 9th, 2012
8:14 pm

And it continues.


February 9th, 2012
8:36 pm

Oh shock and horror…a background check.


February 9th, 2012
9:18 pm

you dont build an empire by friends with everyone and not neglecting a few people along the way

said daughter has been well off for a long time now.


February 9th, 2012
10:40 pm

It kind of stands to reason, that Republicans who typically favor the wealthy would want someone who head the most profitable (greedy) company on Earth on their team as a consultant. And the FBI would check ANYONE who would be working with any President, regardless. Jobs was a known hippy and even refused to have a license tag on his car – you think they’re not going to watch someone like that? I used to know someone who worked in the valley and their company did outsourced work for Apple. He told me he was in the Apple HQ on more than one occasion, and when Jobs was in the building, the employees were terrified to even sneeze. There’s no question the man was one of the most creative and inventive of our time – but according to more than one comment by more than one employee to this person, “Hitler” was used to describe him more than once, too.


February 10th, 2012
12:48 am


This man brought industry back to the U.S. and a company to make us all proud of being American. This is all but never done these days. Why on earth would anyone slander him now? He is as close to a HEnry Ford that we get in this greedy age….so, why slander him especially after his passing?

bob walters

February 10th, 2012
12:58 am

cc, you embarrass yourself! Apple employs more people in other countries than the US. No Apple products are manufactured in the US… NONE! When you include all their subcontractors, Apple employs directly and indirectly about 25,000 in the US and 700,000 overseas. And unlike his nemesis, B Gates, Steve Jobs was about as greedy as they get. A billionaire with a heart of coal.


February 10th, 2012
1:16 am

and if Obama considered someone for “seat on the President’s Export Council” or any other federal government related post, you can bet your butt the FBI would compile a file on that person regardless of political persuasion. There’s really no story here…except on a slow news day.

Dirty South TV

February 10th, 2012
3:09 am

Whats-A-Matter with you? Who told you Apple makes one single item in The U.S.? Not one is the answer. To like Apple, or their products, vision, capitalism or whatever is one thing–but to lie is another thing.

Apple is one of the reasons our Country is so financially messed up right now. Imagine if all of those items that have been sold in just the last ten years alone–were made in The U.S.A. All of those workers, factories, utilities, supply companies etc would all be doing better today.

Visionary–yes…let’s just keep it at that. And no one is bashing him here, so lay that crap on someone else. The truth is the truth though.

Hopefully soon Apple will make the major announcement that they will begin to make all models of Apple products here in The United States of America (keep your fingers crossed). I honestly don’t think they are THAT smart though…

Dirty South TV

name (required)

February 10th, 2012
6:42 am

So why does Steve Jobs’ FBI file get released before his carcass is even cold, yet Martin Luther King Jrs is still under lock and key 50 years after he croaked? Are we not trusted to handle the fact that he had girlfriends on the side and militant tendencies? Why the double standard?

Surprised Face

February 10th, 2012
7:38 am

Wait, a shocking news report on Jobs, must be a new Apple product coming out. Stir up the news, then release. 10 bucks on it.

Whiskey Breath

February 10th, 2012
8:04 am

The government was spying on him. The open position was just an excuse.
Sad we Americans don’t realize this. I understand the government has a duty to protect us
but losing our freedom is not worth spying on it’s citizens unless we demonstate a threat to
national security. Sad


February 10th, 2012
8:07 am

I would hope my current employer did a background check on me before they hired me. That’s all this is. Chalk another one up to the media trying to create controversy and paranoia where there is none to begin with.

So What

February 10th, 2012
8:12 am

It’s too bad that the FBI didn’t do a better background search on Obama. We might have a president who actually loves the USA if they had.

Call it like it is

February 10th, 2012
8:48 am

Nothing to see folks, move alone, move alone


February 10th, 2012
8:51 am

I love that Atlantaphotog apparently finds greedy and wealthy to be synonyms. I guess Apple should be giving away everything they earn rather than returning it to the people that own the company.

In the eyes of the Liberal, the only “honest” way to accumlate wealth is by buying a lottery ticket at the liquor store. God forbid an entity actually have the audacity to work hard and innovate to make their money.


February 10th, 2012
9:03 am

@bob walters, they have 45,000 doemstic employees of their own (this doesn’t count you “indirect” employees), so where do you get your numbers?

They own nearly 250 retail locations alone …. common sense would say that it would take close to half of you 25,000 number to just staff the stores. I think you were just pulling numbers out of your arse personally.


February 10th, 2012
10:10 am

Seems you could still be successful and build an empire without being abusive to your employees. He is certainly an innovator and deserves praise but you would’ve thought a former President or the Queen of England died with all the publicity after Jobs passed away. Hey “So What”..tell me how exactly Obama hates America? What’s with republicans and the “Obama hates America” crap?


February 10th, 2012
10:30 am

He was profoundly talented, creative, and hardworking, and they were trying to figure out what was wrong with him.


February 10th, 2012
10:52 am

@Cbadloc, the “Obama hates America”, what they are actually saying is “Obama hates freedom and captalism” which conservatives hold as the best things about our country.

You have to admit that Obama is not all for free markets and limited government oversight. They are just exaggerating their feelings….at least that’s what I hope :) .


February 10th, 2012
11:19 am

Republicans are in favor of limited government oversight only when it suites their needs…and how is Obama not for free markets? How does Obama hate freedom? Capitalism? If Republicans had their way with “limited government oversight” we’d still be dumping toxic waste into rivers and oceans…sometimes, government oversight is a good thing.


February 10th, 2012
1:38 pm

How can you say “How does Obama hate freedom?” and then turn around and then complain about the Conservative view on “limited government oversight”?

You don’t see that those two things are in complete contradiction? Government oversight is the EXACT opposite of freedom.

If you have a different definition of freedom, I’d like to know what it is?


February 10th, 2012
2:41 pm

I think Bill Gates was behind it all


February 10th, 2012
3:45 pm

Jarvis, you think government preventing companies from dumping toxic waste into streams, rivers and oceans is an infringement on your/their freedom? Again, give me an example as to how Obama hates freedom? Also, again, Republicans only favor limited government oversight when it suites their needs.