Steve Jobs through the FBI lens: What a (mundane) life

Through a "just the facts" lens Steve Jobs looks rather mundane.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Seeing Steve Jobs through the lens of released Federal Bureau of Investigation documents reveals a man who endured extortion attempts, was in line for a presidential nomination and could embellish the truth a bit.

The FBI released its Jobs files and it paints a picture you won't find in his biography. You could argue that there isn't much on Jobs at all. Indeed, the FBI has a just-the-facts approach toward Jobs almost looks mundane. Jobs wasn't a criminal so it's foolish to think there's some huge revealing moment, but the portrait of the former Apple CEO is notable nonetheless---especially when the technology innovation is stripped away.

In other words, the life of Jobs could get messy and there were a few odd things to ponder---just like the rest of us.

Also: FBI releases Steve Jobs' background check: What's inside | CNET: Read FBI background report on Apple CEO Steve Jobs

In 1985, law enforcement agencies investigated an extortion attempt against Jobs and Apple. The flashback comes when police searched the San Francisco Airport Hilton Hotel for explosives. A perp used a pay phone---what's that?---to make verbal threats against Apple. He wanted $1 million (it was 1985 after all) and said there were bombs placed. A telephone trap was placed in case there were further calls, but nothing developed further. The K9 unite of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office did a sweep of the area for explosives.

Jobs was also considered for a presidential appointment and a background check was needed in 1991. The Feds needed to investigate why Jobs was terminated from Apple as well as his former drug use and even the birthplace of his daughter. "Appointee will be required to make decisions concerning policy and personnel matters; therefore during interviews, determine if appointee has expressed or manifested any bias or prejudice against any individual or group based upon sex, race, color, religion, national origin, handicap or age."


The Feds also wanted to know if Jobs "lives within his financial means."

That same investigation revealed Jobs' credit score as well as his real estate habits. Jobs bought a Central Park West apartment, renovated it, but never occupied it. The FBI dryly finds that Jobs was a former hippie.

In addition, the FBI files reveal a bevy of lawsuits that came and went.

Overall, Jobs looked just like most of us would in any background check. Aside from a few comments about "his personal life being lacking due to his narcissism and shallowness" Jobs looks almost mundane.


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