Thousands of books and magazine articles have been written about President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. Almost 50 years later, this tragic event in our nation’s history still captures the attention of so many – those who were alive when it happened and for whom that day has left an indelible memory as well as those who have heard of it, read of it, watched video or movies about it. It has become a signature event in our collective history. ”I know that on that day, Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, our world was changed and has never been the same since.” – Donald A. Adams
The years have passed, and, yet, there are still no definitive answers to the many questions and inconsistencies surrounding the JFK assassination. The official investigation of President Kennedy’s death may be over, but the “investigation” continues, if only by private citizens, curious students and Kennedy assassination aficionados not satisfied with the answers they’ve been handed. None of these “unofficial” investigators has the kind of direct connection to the assassination that former FBI Special Agent Donald Adams had.
Adams’ first Resident Agency as a Special Agent for the FBI was an assingment to Thomasville, Ga. It was there where he first encountered and investigated a man whom Adams is now convinced was much more involved with the JFK assassination than any “official” investigation has ever acknowledged. What the FBI did to alter the true facts of the investigation concerning the suspect needs to be told. Only then can we learn some of the truth of what happened before, on Nov. 22, 1963.” and afterwards.
It was on Nov. 13, 1963, that Adams was assigned to investigate two reported threats by Milteer to kill the President.“You can imagine my shock at about 1:00 PM on November 22,1963 when I read the words, ‘The President is dead.’ My major question. Had I failed in preventing this from happening? Adams as a relatively new agent was taken aback by his orders from SAC McMahon. McMahon got very specific with me about my interview with the subject if located.. He cautioned me that the interview had to be done carefully and that he was going to instruct me as to the questions I should ask and that I was to ask no more. I was puzzled by these instructions, and I remember insisting – twice – that when we talked with the subject, we needed to find out more information, including where he had been traveling and what he’d been doing. My arguments fell on deaf ears. McMahon was emphatic about the questions I was to ask. I disagreed and was troubled by his orders, but I knew my boundaries.”
For five days, Adams and other local law enforcement officials searched for signs of Milteer in Georgia. Only late in the afternoon of Nov. 27 – five days after the assassination – was Milteer located and brought in for questioning by Adams and fellow Agent Ken Williams.
“First, I obtained detailed descriptive data and then started to ask Milteer the questions that McMahon had instructed me to ask. I obtained as much information as was possible from the set questions. I wrote in my report how Milteer described himself as a non-dues paying member of the White Citizens Council of Atlanta Ga., the Congress of Freedom and the Constitution Party; how he emphatically denied making threats to assassinate President Kennedy or participating in any such assassination; how he had never heard anyone make such threats; and how he had never made threats against anyone subsequent to the assassination of President Kennedy. Since he was not under arrest, photographs and fingerprints were not taken. When we parted company, it was the last time that I ever saw Milteer in person.” Once Oswald was named as the assassin, and Milteer denied any involvement, Adams never gave Milteer another thought. “He was long forgotten, at least until 1993. ”That was the year that Adams received a copy of “High Treason,” co-authored by Robert Groden and Harrison Livingston from Larry Dannemiller a friend who knew of Adams’ decades-long interest in the JFK assassination. In that book, the name Joseph Milteer appeared.
“That was the first time since 1963 that I ever saw, heard or read the name Joseph Milteer, except when I mentioned him in my discussions with other agents I read in ‘High Treason’ that the Miami Police Department had a taped interview with police informant William Somersett in which Milteer discussed a plot to kill President Kennedy with a high-powered rifle from an office building. I read about a potential assassination of the President and the subsequent but erroneous arrest of someone who would be charged. I read about additional threats in Chicago, Tampa and Miami, threats that were known to the Miami police and the FBI several weeks before I was assigned to locate and interview Milteer, yet, I had been told nothing about this in November 1963 and after! Something was drastically wrong. The FBI that I had been part of and respected just did not work this way.”But the words he read did not shock this former FBI Agent as much as a photograph in the book.“When I got almost halfway through the book, I saw a photo I will never forget and a face I immediately recognized. It was a younger photo of the man I knew as Joseph A. Milteer. Then I was drawn to the picture at the center of the page. There was Milteer, standing in a group of people apparently in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, and looking toward the presidential limo with President Kennedy and his wife visible in the photograph. This photograph had to have been taken just seconds before the President was shot.
I knew Milteer was not in Quitman, Ga., on Nov. 22, 1963, and I had often wondered where he was. When I saw that photograph in ‘High Treason,’ I knew instantly that Milteer was in Dallas, standing on Houston Street in Dealey Plaza moments before President Kennedy was assassinated.”
From the time he received “High Treason,” Adams has been determined to find the missing pieces of this assassination puzzle. His questions go back to his time on assignment in Dallas, eight months after the assassination, and his watching of the Abraham Zapruder film of the killing of the President.
Three of us watched the film on a very large screen, sitting approximately eight to 10 feet back. It was easy to notice things you never saw in photographs or on film viewed on a normal-size screen. When President Kennedy raised his elbows to shoulder height and placed his hands on his throat, I immediately knew he had been hit from the front in the throat. I remember blurting out, ‘Hell, that shot didn’t come from the rear; it came from the front. Then came the part of the film where the President was shot in the head, and I observed how his head was forced back. It looked as if his head had exploded, with a large piece of skull and brain matter flying upwards and to the rear of the car. One of the two agents accompanying me cautioned me to say nothing, adding that a determination had already been made that Oswald shot the President from the rear out of a sixth-floor window at the Book Depository.
I remember saying, ‘That’s bullshit.’ I was a Korean War veteran, and I knew where a shot would have to have come from if someone had been hit and reacted as I saw President Kennedy react. What I had seen could lead to only one conclusion – the president had been shot from the front!”
More questions came to Adams when he visited the Texas Book Depository and the sixth-floor window from which Oswald was reported to have shot the President.
I remember asking about the time sequence and number of shots fired by Oswald. I was told that he fired three shots in 7-1/2 seconds and that all three were right on target. I was also told that the rifle was scoped and that it was a bolt action.
I looked out the window again, taking in all directions, and then asked more questions as I wanted to get as many details as I could. I came to the conclusion that there is no way Oswald fired three shots in a little over 7 seconds with a scoped, bolt-action rifle and made the hits he supposedly made. No way.”
Regardless of the Warren Commission’s Report, the evidence that has been amassed, the voluminous writings both then and since, and the law enforcement investigation, Adams is convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald did not shoot the President.
“When Oswald said in a corridor of the Dallas Police Department that he was a ‘patsy,’ that’s exactly what he was.”
But if Oswald didn’t kill JFK, who did?
“Joseph Adams Milteer played a more involved role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy than what we have been told. Once, more of the story of Milteer’s activities is developed and becomes known, we will all have a better picture of what really happened.”
A big part of that story deals with the questions asked and inconsistencies and untruths discovered by Adams over the years.
Why were FBI reports altered and destroyed ?
Why did FBI agents and other law enforcement personnel fail to tell Agent Adams of previous investigations into and encounters with Joseph Adams Milteer?
Why does an FBI report from Special Agent Royal McGraw to Atlanta field office Supervisor Charles Harding falsely place Milteer in Quitman, Ga., at the time of the assassination when Milteer was never located until five days later?
Why weren’t earlier reports of an assassination attempt on the life of the President in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963, enough to prevent his death?
Who failed in their sworn duty to protect and defend the President and why? Authored: Don Adams
In every investigation, questions are asked and facts are uncovered and the reality of what really happened becomes clear as the investigating team digs deeper. All of the questions and observations that should have been asked and answered immediately following President Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963 were not asked nor were truthful answers received. Almost 50 years later, isn’t it time that we do that now?”
Jody Miller Editor