You’re a high profile executive in the technology industry with a record of innovation–and suddenly are being quietly considered by the White House as a potential candidate for an upcoming presidential appointment.
Naturally, the FBI is tasked with putting together a report, assessing your fitness for the position and looking for potential skeletons in your closet.
Curious what that kind or report looks like?
A newly released, 191-page report on Apple founder “Steven Paul Jobs” now available on an FBI Records website, provides a revealing glimpse of what the government might report on you.
According to a Feb. 21, 1991 fax contained on page 160 of the report–from “Director, FBI” to field offices in Cincinnati, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington–the bureau was requested “to conduct a Level III background investigation of Mr. Jobs for a Presidential appointment to the President’s Export Council.”
Jobs was president of NEXT Inc. at the time.
The position did not require Senate confirmation, according to the fax, but agents were informed:
“Appointee will be required to make decisions concerning policy and personnel matters; therefore…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. Also determine if appointee uses illegal drugs or abuses alcohol.”
Agents were reminded, “the position for which the appointee is being considered shall not be disclosed to any interviewees.”
The report captured a variety of field reports, based on interviews with individuals who had worked with Jobs, but whose names were redacted.
The report would sound familiar to anyone who has read Walter Isaacson‘s biography of Jobs, which captured in great detail Job’s powerful personality and his mercurial tendency to be blunt and derisive with colleagues.
Among the field reports collected in the file, interviewees described Jobs as “an excellent business negotiator and recruiter of talent” and as “an extraordinary person with a good reputation, but when it comes to business, there are frequently disagreements and sometime hard feelings.” It also revealed Job’s experimentation with drugs, details about a daughter born out of wedlock and other information that by now is widely known.
Several pages of memos and handwritten notes in the file lso provide a glimpse into a $1 million bomb threat that was made against Apple on Feb. 7, 1985, several months before Apple fired Jobs.
The report is available on a section of the FBI’s website called “FBI Records: The Vault” which the FBI describes as “our new electronic reading room.”
The online site contains more than 3,000 documents that have been scanned from paper into digital copies, according to the site. Included on the site are numerous files that have been released to the public but not previously made available on the FBI’s website, as well as unreleased files.
It also includes a variety of other documents including it a 1978 edition of the FBI’s “Manual of Investigative Operations and Guidelines.”
The FBI includes a disclaimer noting “the content of the files in the Vault encompasses all time periods of Bureau history and do not always reflect the current views, policies, and priorities of the FBI.”
The FBI continues to maintain a physical reading room to review FBI records at the bureau’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.