There’s more to the heroic story of FBI agent, Don Adams, whose recent death was reported in JFK Facts by BIll Hogan. Hogan reported that Adams had broken ranks with the Bureau to say that the investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy was compromised.
“I have learned that crucial evidence was withheld from me as an agent investigating a planned assassination of the president, just weeks before it actually took place,” Adams wrote in his book From an Office Building with a High-Powered Rifle( Trine Day, 2012),
Now you can review the evidence Adams was denied: a chiling tape recording made a couple of weeks before Kennedy was killed and a tape transcript, both of which authorities ignored when investigating JFK’s assassination.
Don Adams only learned the story many years later.
A man named William Somersett was working as informant in the segregationist National States Rights Party in 1963. In early November 1963 Somersett secretly audiotaped party leader Joseph Milteer who had been discussing killing a SNCC leader in Atlanta earlier that month. Milteer also discussed plans to kill President Kennedy, which he said involved shooting the JFK with a rifle from an office building.
“They will pick up somebody in the hours afterwards…just to throw the public off,” Milteer said.
Sommersett informed the Miami police who passed his report to the FBI and the Secret Service. The FBI and the Secret Service acknowledged that they received copies of the tape transcript no later than November 12, 1963
Read the tape transcript while listening to the tape – start at 13:58, which coincides with the first highlighted portion of the transcript.
As a young FBI agent in Georgia, Adams was assigned to investigate Milteer. He says that he conducted two interviews with Milteer. The first one was on November 16, 1963 when Adams donned work clothes and concealed his FBI identity while chit-chatting as Milteer was leafleting in the center of his hometown. The second one took place on November 27, when Milteer denied any role in the killing of JFK.
The Milteer’s comments were ignored by the FBI and the Warren Commission. Adams’ report on his November 16 1963 meeting with Milteer has vanished.
The tape transcript shows Somersett telling the Miami police: “He [Milteer] couldn’t guess, in my opinion, that the President would be shot from a window.”
As the years went by, Adams learned about Somersett’s interviews with Milteer. His bosses had never told him about these interviews.
Adams couldn’t understand why the Secret Service didn’t carefully monitor the office buildings in downtown Dallas. Why didn’t they call off JFK’s dangerous public appearances held in Tampa, Miami, and Dallas in the month of November?
The Secret Service did cancel a planned motorcade during JFK’s visit to Miami on November 18, 1963 and instead transported the president by helicopter. Despite that move, the Secret Service wrote a 250-page report within a month after the assassination that made no mention of the Milteer threat.
Five years later
Incredibly, five years later, Somersett phoned his superiors on April 3, 1968, reporting that Martin Luther King was about to be assassinated. King was killed the next day. Yet the FBI’s supervisor on Freedom of Information Act cases filed a court declaration stating that the only suspect to the MLK killing was James Earl Ray, ignoring Somersett’s evidence once again.
A new document is now revealed in its entirety in Adams’ book. Although this copy has some redactions, it contains most of the critical information.
(Unfortunately, the document is unavailable at the Mary Ferrell site but it can be found in the Kindle edition of Adams’ book, at locations 2419 and 2424.)
This new revelation is a memo of an interview that Jim Garrison’s colleague and fellow investigator Bud Fensterwald had with Somersett about two months after King’s death. Adams says that a tape of this Somersett-Fensterwald meeting was provided to Somersett’s bosses at Miami Intelligence and sent on to the FBI. The memo says that Milteer admitted to Somersett that he was in Dallas on November 22 and that Milteer said patrolman J. D. Tippit and Jack Ruby were part of JFK assassination.
It is well known that the Secret Service destroyed many of its records from the fall of 1963 period after receiving a subpoena from the Assassination Records Review Board. in the mid-1990s.
In his book, Adams does a good job of summing up the problem:
“The information received by the Miami Police Department and then the Secret Service and the FBI in October and November of 1963 certainly should have set the foundation for a properly completed investigation.
“It was Nov. 9, 1963, when both the Miami FBI office and the Secret Service obtained a copy of the tape from Lt. Everett Kay of the Miami Police Department’s Intelligence Unit of a conversation between Somersett and Milteer where Milteer openly discusses the planned killing of President Kennedy with a high-powered rifle from an office building. All hell should have broken loose at that moment…
“…The Miami Intelligence Unit notified the FBI and the Secret Serviceimmediately. The Washington, D.C. FBI office and others throughout the country were notified about this serious threat. It would seem to go without saying that Director Hoover would have been notified instantly. As I have said, I did not know of the Nov. 9, 1963 tape recording until 1993, when I read about it in High Treason. Here I am, the case agent of the investigation involving Milteer, and I am never informed by anyone in the FBI about the tape recording or the direct threat. Obviously, this information was purposefully kept from me in total violation of the strictest Bureau rules.
“While I never knew of the tape recording, my fellow agent and partner Royal McGraw did. It wasn’t until 2007 when I discovered his full Jan. 22, 1964 report in the National Archives that I learned that McGraw had been aware of the tape recording. In hindsight, I started to wonder why I was assigned this most important investigation by SAC McMahon on Nov. 13, 1963. I was an FBI neophyte, a first-office agent. My supervisor in Thomasville, McGraw, had been an agent for 10 years at that time. Could McGraw have made sure the Milteer investigation was assigned to me to give him cover, should any aspect of the Nov. 9 tape-recorded threat become reality?”
(The final quote can be found in Adams’ book: From an Office Building with a High-Powered Rifle: One FBI Agent’s View of the JFK Assassination (Kindle Locations 1324-1341, 1343-1354). Independent Publishers Group. Kindle Edition.)