During Steve Jobs’ mid-career break with Apple, US Commander-in-Chief George H.W. Bush was actively considering the visionary’s appointment to his President’s Export Council. This, in 1991, led to the FBI performing a deep and thorough background check on Jobs, coming to the conclusion that he was indeed quite fit for the high-level political position.
The recently-released document — produced at the request of The Wall Street Journal (via the Freedom of Information Act) — highlights many of the same anecdotes covered in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, including accounts of his complex personality and early drug use. Additionally, ArsTechnica reports, the FBI wanted to know
whether [Jobs] had ever shown any kind of bias against racial or cultural groups (nearly all interviewees were quoted as saying no, they had not heard or seen of any kind of bias). The FBI also noted that Jobs did not have any known relatives living in communist countries (insert obvious California joke here), and that Apple in particular was not very cooperative in providing the FBI with the appropriate information, causing some delays in the background check process.
The report even makes mention of Jobs’ legendary “reality distortion field,” though it neglects to include whether the Bush Administration viewed it as a negative risk or a positive boon. (Hey, this is the government we’re talking about!)
Needless to say, Steve never accepted the job. Instead, he returned to Apple in 1997, and the rest is history.
Except for his enduring influence. That will undoubtedly continue to shape both Apple and the future of electronic interaction for years to come.