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The Steve Jobs FBI dossier: 5 surprises
The late Apple co-founder earned poor grades in high school. But that's just the beginning of what's in his just-released file
 
Among the revelations from the FBI's 191-page file on Steve Jobs: Some colleagues thought he wasn't very nice; and he was once the target of a bomb threat.
Among the revelations from the FBI's 191-page file on Steve Jobs: Some colleagues thought he wasn't very nice; and he was once the target of a bomb threat.
Kimberly White/Corbis

On Thursday, the FBI released its once secret 191-page file on late Apple visionary Steve Jobs. The dossier details the extensive background check performed on Jobs in 1991 when he was being considered for a spot on the President's Export Council in the George H.W. Bush administration. The report includes interviews with friends and colleagues, who all offer their opinions on the Apple co-founder. Here, five of the most surprising revelations:

1. He might not have been a very nice guy
I've read a lot of background FBI investigations, says John Cook at Gawker, and I've rarely encountered one in which "this much derogatory information gets dredged up." Among the disparaging claims from people whose names were redacted: Jobs "will twist the truth and distort reality to achieve his goals." He's a "deceptive individual." His "moral character is questionable." There was even one instance in which a woman refused to discuss Jobs at all because "she has questions concerning his ethics and his morality." Still, most of those interviewed recommended him for the appointment, although he didn't get it.

2. He had "Top Secret" security clearance
Between 1988 and 1990, Jobs held Top Secret security clearance, associated with his position at Pixar. It's unclear why exactly Jobs had such high clearance, says Joe Coscarelli at New York, but just before it was terminated in 1990, Pixar sold its Image Computer unit to Vicom Systems Inc., which "develops and manufactures image processing systems that are sold to the medical, military, industry-automation, and inspection markets." Perhaps, then, the clearance could have been tied to "the sale of Pixar hardware to a military contractor."

3. He was the target of a bomb threat
The file reveals that Jobs and other Apple employees were targets of a bomb threat in 1985, says Ned Potter at ABC News. The incident took place on Feb. 7, 1985, when "an unidentified male made a series of calls to Apple staff." He claimed there were three "devices" at the homes of Jobs and two other executives. A fourth bomb at an undisclosed location would go off, the caller said, if authorities were notified. He demanded $1 million, and told Apple officials to look for further instructions in a note hidden under a table by a candy machine at a San Francisco Hilton. Police traced the call to the San Francisco Airport, swept the alleged bomb locations, came up with nothing, and made no arrests.

4. He had an affinity for drugs… and Asian culture
Much has already been made about Jobs' past drug use, and the FBI file confirms the previous reports, says Kim Zetter at Wired. Several of those interviewed remarked on Jobs' druge use, "which included, by his own admission, the use of LSD during his school days." Two others called attention to his knowledge of Asian culture, which they argued was crucial to his success and "would aid him in his position on the export council."

5. His GPA was much lower than you'd expect
Many people hyperbolically view Steve Jobs as a veritable "master of the universe," says Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic, so imagine their shock that, on a standard 4.0 scale, Jobs earned just a 2.65 grade point averge in high school. That means that during his four years palling around with Steve Wozniak at California's Homestead High School from 1968 to 1972, he received mostly Bs and Cs. The takeaway: "Perhaps the abilities it takes to get a perfect high school record do not perfectly overlap with the skills it takes to build a $450 billion company."

 

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