Steve Jobs file reveals frank assessments

A secret FBI file on Steve Jobs is revealing new details about the late Apple co-founder and chief executive officer.

From the file, it seems Jobs spent some time working for the government, reportedly on satellite and software-related programs. In fact, in 1988, Jobs held a "Top Secret" clearance. He lost that clearance in 1990. It's not known if Jobs was aware of his FBI file, but he was interviewed during the background check and cooperated.

The FBI file also includes what his friends and co-workers actually thought of him -- and some of it is not nice.

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The FBI file, released under the Freedom of Information Act, gives us new insights into Jobs' personality. His colleagues respected his genius, but many found him to be stubborn and demanding.

One worker at Apple Computer called Jobs, "A deceptive individual who is not completely forthright and honest." Another colleague defended Jobs saying he was a man of  "...high moral character and integrity."

But, multiple friends and associates warned he could be abrasive and had a "tendency to distort reality in order to achieve his goals."

The comments come from a 191-page file the FBI compiled in 1991. Agents were conducting a background check after President George H.W. Bush appointed Jobs to the Presidents Export Council.

Among the more than two dozen people interviewed, they universally said Jobs, while not perfect, was a worthy presidential adviser. But, one co-worker cynically noted, "...honesty and integrity are not required qualities to hold such a position."

The FBI investigation revealed there were troubles in his personal life.

One colleague said Jobs initially "mistreated" a daughter he had out of wedlock by failing to support her. But, added "...recently Mr. Jobs has been more supportive."

He was C+ high school student with a 2.65 grade point average. And Jobs admitted to the FBI that he was a casual drug user in the early '70s and "experimented with marijuana, hashish, and LSD." But Jobs assured agents he "never sold any drugs" and was never convicted of a crime.

The file, though, does reveal Jobs was the target of extortion. Handwritten notes seen in the file were made by the FBI in 1985 after someone phoned in a bomb threat that targeted Jobs and Apple. The caller, who demanded $1 million, was never paid and never found.

Watch Bob Orr's full report in the video above, along with a discussion on "CBS This Morning" with Adam Lashinsky, senior editor-at -large for Fortune magazine, who is the author of "Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired and Secretive Company Really Works."

  • Bob Orr

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