Five surprises from Steve Jobs’ FBI file

From his Top Secret security clearance to the only organization he ever joined

Written by JPat Brown
Edited by Michael Morisy

The release of Steve Jobs’ FBI file was one of MuckRock’s first big stories, setting the framework for what would become the Subjects Matter project. With the iPhone turning ten this week, we thought we’d look back at some of the most surprising finds from the Bureau’s investigation.

5. He had a C+ GPA in high school

Jobs’ file mostly concerns a Bureau background check regarding a potential presidential appointment, ergo the digging into his academic history. While not exactly impressive, Jobs can take solace in knowing he still kicked the crap out of Tom Clancy’s college transcript.

4. His medical history is matter of national security

While much of Jobs’ file is redacted under privacy and law enforcement exemptions, curiously, his medical history form is withheld under b(1) - making it a genuine state secret.

3. The only thing he was a card-carrying member of was a gym - and he never went

Gotta say, despite his reputation as aloof and inscrutable, Jobs is coming off as extremely relatable here.

4. He briefly had Top Secret clearance

Before the pivot to computer cartoons that make you cry, Pixar’s original business model was selling satellite image rendering software to spooks.

5. It contains an actual phone

While the bulk of the file concerns Jobs’ appointment, there’s also brief investigation into bomb threats made against Apple in 1985. Since the threats were made from an airport pay phone, the Bureau decided to dust the receiver for prints - a process that apparently involved chopping it into bits and then leaving those bits in the file. An oddly appropriate legacy for the guy who helped kill the land line.

Bonus: The FBI needs to get its sarcasm filter checked

Read the full file embedded below, or on the request page.


Image by Matthew Yohe via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY 3.0