Since his death last year, we’ve heard plenty of lionizing and denigrating takes on Steve Jobs and his challenging leadership style, but we can now add the FBI’s character sketch of the late Apple founder, circa the George H.W. Bush era, to that mix, thanks to the details of a background check the bureau was obliged to make available to the public this week. –KA


The documents, released by the FBI after the Wall Street Journal filed a Freedom of Information Act request, also detailed an 1985 investigation of a bomb and extortion threat against Apple.

[…] The FBI fanned out across the country during the investigation, with agents involved from field offices in several states. Jobs’ next-door and nearby neighbors were also interviewed.

Most of the people questioned by the FBI gave Jobs glowing recommendations, but some did not.

“Several individuals questioned Mr. Jobs’ honesty, stating that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals,” the FBI reported.

Jobs was famous for what many called his “reality distortion field,” a phrase first coined by an Apple developer in 1981 to describe Jobs’ ability to convince people that seemingly impossible tasks were, in fact, possible.

Others among the scores interviewed described Jobs as “deceptive,” “strong willed,” “stubborn” and “driven.”

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