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The FBI's Secret Files on Steve Jobs' Drug Use

According to long-secret documents, the feds were well aware of the Apple founder's ardor for acid, which gave the FBI pause before approving him for a plum Washington job.

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Part of a cover page from the FBI report
on Steve Jobs. Photo via

By Hunter R. Slaton

02/09/12

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More than 20 years ago, Steve Jobs, the late Apple co-founder, was being considered by President George H.W. Bush for an appointment to the President’s Export Council. Jobs ultimately got the appointment—but only after the FBI undertook a careful investigation into his past, including his use of illegal drugs. During the course of the agency's research, the bureau spoke to dozens of the Apple titan’s past and present business and personal associates. Their report, which was kept under wraps until now, was released today in response to a Freedom of Information Request. In the nearly 200-page document, multiple sources cite Jobs’ past drug use. One former colleague said that, “during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Mr. Jobs may have experimented with illegal drugs, having come from that generation.” A college buddy said that “he was aware that Mr. Jobs used illegal drugs, including marijuana and LSD, while they were attending college.” And what sounds like an old flame told the FBI that “the Appointee grew up in the late sixties and early seventies when drug use was prevalent and that she and the Appointee both experimented with various drugs.”

In a smart move, Jobs didn’t try to hide his past when the bureau came calling. According to an interview with the man himself, “He had not used drugs in the past five years however during the period of approximately 1970–1974 he experimented with marijuana, hashish, and LSD.” (The investigation was conducted in 1991, which means that Jobs could well have toked up or tripped as late as 1985. That doesn’t seem an unreasonable response to getting pushed out of the company you helped found, as happened to Jobs at Apple that year.) The report goes on to state that, “This was during high school and college and he mostly used these substances by himself. He never sold any drugs and no one who could substantiate his use came readily to mind.” It turns out Jobs was wrong about that last part.

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