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Steve Jobs revealed blackmail fears, drug use in DOD document

A Defense Department document shows that the late Apple leader admitted to drug use, an arrest for an unpaid traffic ticket, and fears that his daughter might be kidnapped.


Steve Jobs was forced to divulge several details about his life when he was seeking Top Secret security clearance in 1988.

The details were made public today in a questionnaire that Jobs had to fill out at the time for the Department of Defense, which was recently obtained by Wired through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Responding to a question on how he might be susceptible to blackmail, Jobs revealed that he had an illegitimate daughter and was concerned that he could be blackmailed if someone were to kidnap her. But a person at the DOD apparently wasn't too concerned about this since knowledge of Jobs' daughter was already public.

The Apple co-founder admitted to drug use on the form, saying he had used LSD, marijuana, and hashish. He said he had no words to describe his use of LSD other than that it was a "positive life changing experience" and one that he was glad he went through. Jobs either smoked the marijuana or ingested it through brownies and said it made him feel "relaxed and creative." He added that he stopped taking LSD in 1974 and stopped the marijuana in 1977.

Jobs also detailed the infamous illegal phone phreaking that he got away with as a teenager where he used a Blue Box device to make free long distance calls. But he saw that as more of a "technical challenge, not a challenge to be able to break the law."

He also was arrested once, but for an unpaid speeding ticket. Paying a fine of $50 quickly cleared that up.

Finally, Jobs even wrote about his infamous temper, acknowledging that he got angry "when things are not going right." But he claimed that he had since learned to better control his emotions and even attended a two-month course on how to get in touch with one's feelings. Of course, Jobs' temper continued to flare up throughout the rest of his life, so controlling his emotions may not have been quite that easy.

The document doesn't explain why Jobs needed the security clearance. But Wired pointed to Jobs' involvement with Pixar as a possible explanation. As cited in Walter Isaacson's biography, Pixar had contracts with intelligence agencies to use its Pixar Image Computer to render data captured from air flights and satellites, requiring security clearance for Jobs as CEO of the animation studio.