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JFK anniversary bittersweet for former FBI agent

11/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Donald Adams is shown with his book that details his research and knowledge about the investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Photo: Kathleen Folkerth
WEST AKRON — Former FBI agent Donald Adams said he is a Republican, but looking over him when he sits at a desk in his West Akron home is the face of President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat.

“I’m a Republican, but I loved him,” said Adams, 82, who has three pictures of the president in a frame hanging on the wall. “I spent time with him and watched him speak and I shook hands with him. He was personable, very friendly and caring. He had tremendous sincerity. I was impressed with him.”

That’s the reason why Adams is spending his retirement trying to convince the public that the popular president was not gunned down by lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald on Nov. 22, 1963 — 50 years ago this week.

His book, “From an Office Building with a High-Powered Rifle,” details what Adams saw himself as an agent whose role in the investigation began nine days before Kennedy’s assassination.

“I have a message I wanted to get out, and I was hoping the public would pick up on that,” he said of his book, which was published in 2012.

Adams is a Barberton native and Korean War veteran. After earning a degree in education from Kent State University, he worked in the insurance industry for several years before becoming a special agent with the FBI in 1962. He was assigned to the Atlanta Division.

It was there he began investigating Joseph Milteer, who had made threats to kill Kennedy, on Nov. 13, 1963. Adams said Milteer had been recorded in Miami telling someone that the president was going to be killed “from an office building with a high-powered rifle.”

Adams contends that officials in Miami provided the information to the FBI and national officials, but nothing was done.

“When they do nothing to prevent the shooting of the president, there’s something wrong,” Adams said.

Having seen the Abraham Zapruder film that captured images of the assassination and visiting the Texas School Book Depository as part of the initial investigation, Adams said he was skeptical of the idea that Oswald was the shooter.

“Oswald did not shoot the president,” he said. “That’s the story I want to get out to the public.”

He added that new information has recently come to light that shows credible witnesses saw Oswald at the time of the shooting in the lunchroom of the book depository building, where he worked.

“Oswald was involved, don’t get me wrong,” said Adams, who believed Oswald worked as an informant.

Adams said he spoke up about his misgivings during the investigation but was told to keep his comments to himself. He said he refrained from talking about his doubts with his fellow agents because he didn’t want to put anyone’s job in jeopardy. But he has always felt uneasiness about what the American public has been told about the assassination.

Adams stayed with the FBI because he felt he didn’t have a choice.

“I didn’t have another job to go to, and I loved the Bureau,” he said.

He remained in the FBI until he retired in 1982. He then worked for Akron businessman David Brennan for 10 years heading up security. He then served as Fairlawn’s police chief for three years, from 1993 to 1996, and later worked as head of security for Portage Country Club.

Over the years, Adams appeared before groups to talk about his investigation and theories into the Kennedy assassination. He also maintains a website with information at www.adamsjfk.com. His book is available there and at bookstores and online retailers.

“I get a lot of comments and a lot of praise,” he said.

He does believe the case will one day be reopened and conclusions about what happened changed.

“They have to, and it will happen,” he said. “It’s going to change history.”

Like many this week, Adams said he’s been engrossed in TV specials and news articles marking Kennedy’s death.

“He will always be a legend,” he added.

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