Secret Service Agents who believed there was a conspiracy

02 Mar 1998
Vincent M. Palamara


The following agents believed that there was a conspiracy involved in JFK's death (I use past tense only because most of them are now deceased):

1) Samuel A. Kinney- Sam told me this three times (he also stated that he found the notion of conspiracy "plausible" to the HSCA, based off the recently-released contact reports available thru the ARRB/ Archives). He thought Oswald was the lone shooter, although he stated emphatically that there were no missed shots (!)- he spoke to Connally about this and THE GOVERNOR AGREED WITH SAM! Sam also told me that the "right rear" of JFK's head was missing[he later recovered THE piece of the president's head on the C-130], and that his windshield (of the follow-up car) and left arm were splattered with blood and brain matter. Finally, whether hyperbole or not, Sam said "He had no brains left". Sam passed away 7/21/97 while vacationing in Iowa. His wife Hazel told me she regretted that Sam is now forever unable to tell more...;

2) Roy H. Kellerman- According to his widow June, Roy "accepted that there was a conspiracy"- this was based on June overhearing Roy's telephone conversation with someone from the HSCA in approx. 1977 or 1978. As we all know, Roy stated to the WC that "there has to be more than three shots, gentleman" and that a "flurry of shells" came into the car. Like Bill Greer, Roy is often added to the list of those witnesses who reported that the right rear of JFK's head was blasted. The above information was reported to author Anthony Summers for the Dec. 1994 "VANITY FAIR", p. 88 [uncredited]; you'll also find it in my book. Finally, Kellerman's daughter told Harold Weisberg in the 1970's that "I hope the day will come when these men [Kellerman and Greer*]will be able to say what they've told their families";

3) Abraham W. Bolden, Sr,- Abe is a firm believer in a conspiracy AND in Secret Service negligence. Also, Abe is adamant that there was a plot to kill JFK in Chicago in early November, 1963. I spoke to Bolden twice and corresponded at length with him between 1993 and the present. Bolden is currently working on his own book with his wife:);

4) Maurice G. Martineau- Abe's boss in the Chicago office, Martineau was equally adamant to me that a conspiracy took the life of President Kennedy. He also told me he finds the work of the HSCA much more valid than that of the WC. However, when it comes to info. on the Chicago plot, Martineau is afraid to give me details to this day...;

5) John Norris- a member of the uniformed division of the Secret Service, Norris is a fervent believer in a conspiracy, although one gets the impression this is more based on his beliefs than actual knowledge, but I could be mistaken. Still, his views and beliefs are important for obvious reasons;

6) *Bill Greer- despite many suspicions I have about Greer's conduct on 11/22-11/23/63, he is a "default" addition to this list. In addition to Kellerman's daughter's comments mentioned above, he is also among those witnesses who, at least indirectly, gave testimony that the right rear of JFK's head was missing. Also, to the HSCA, he had much misgivings about the "Single Bullet Theory". Still, this could just be guilty conscience- he expressed much guilt to Jackie Kennedy concerning his awful performance on Elm Street (which he would later deny to the FBI and the WC; even Greer's son Richard was adamant to me that his father had absolutely no survivor's guilt, despite these documented, very early guilt feelings. Even Dave Powers and Ken O'Donnell document Greer's early remorse ["Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye'; see also Powers interview by Charles Kuralt, 11/22/88 on video];

Also, Paul E. Landis, Jr., an agent in the follow-up car who, like agent Hill, was assigned to Jackie, stated twice that shots came from the front [18H755; 18H759];

In addition, agent Thomas "Lem" Johns, who rode in the V.P. follow-up car, told the HSCA that "the first two [shots] sounded like they were on the side of me towards the grassy knoll" [RIF 180-10074-10079]; Finally, SAIC of the Dallas office, Forrest V. Sorrels, riding in the lead car, believed the shots came from the front [Mark Lane's "Rush to Judgement" film- interview with Orville Nix, a good friend of Sorrels' who worked in the Dallas office as a maintenance worker]. I spoke very briefly to Sorrels on two occasions in 1992, a year before he died- he would not clarify anything...

Col. George J. McNally was the first commanding officer of the White
House Army Signal Agency, and its successor, the White House
Communications Agency (WHCA) from 1941 until his retirement in 1965.
Before that, McNally was an agent of the United States Secret Service
(1935-1941). McNally was in the midst of finishing a book when he died
of a heart attack on 8/11/70 (he is interred in Arlington National
The name of McNally's book, not released until 1982 (with the help of
his widow  and the 1600 Communications Assoc.), is "A Million Miles of
Among countless other trips (Truman-Johnson), McNally was on the Texas
trip, working closely with Chief Warrant Officer Arthur W. Bales, Jr.
and Ira Gearhart, a.k.a. The Bagman (these two men rode near the end of
the motorcade in the White House Signal Corps car). For his part,
McNally stayed behind at the Love Field terminal to have lunch and to
check on the upcoming Austin part of the trip to see if the
communication lines were working. [McNally was interviewed 4 times for
Manchester's "The Death of a President" and appears on one page of
Bishop's "The Day Kennedy Was Shot." In addition, McNally's name appears
several times during agent Robert Bouck's JFK Library Oral History, as
McNally played a critical role in the White House taping system.
Finally, McNally was one of the original members of founder Floyd
Boring's Association of Former Secret Service Agents in 1969].
There is much of value in McNally's book, for a variety of reasons. For
one thing, an agent DID die in late 1963...but BEFORE the Texas trip.
from page 211:
"One of the President's drivers, Tom Shipman, died suddenly"
In the chronology of McNally's narrative, after discussing the death of
baby Patrick (Aug. 1963) and the 10-state "Conservation Tour"
(9/24/63-10/63), this would seem to indicate a time period of around
Sept. 1963 for Shipman's death (McNally also mentions the death of
Administrative Officer Frank Sanderson when , who died in May 1963 as
verified by an internet search at Ancestry.Com. Strangely, no death for
a "Tom" or "Thomas" Shipman is listed for 1963.).
However, SA Tom Shipman was ON the "Conservation Tour", as Office -of-
the- Naval- Aide records for this trip (obtained by Bill Adams) reveal.
In fact, Shipman rode on Helicopter #2 from the South Lawn of the White
House on the way to Andrews Air Force Base on 9/24/63 with Ken
O'Donnell, SA Gerald Blaine, SA Paul Burns, and SA William Greer
(Previously, Shipman had been on at least one other trip, JFK's 3/23/63
trip to Chicago, IL, driving the follow-up car [RIF#154-10003-10012].).
If that wasn't enough, it appears that there were two new additions to
the regular White House Garage (chauffeur) detail in Oct./ Nov. 1963, in
addition to veterans SA Samuel A. Kinney, SA George W. Hickey, SA
William R. Greer, Special Officer (SO/ Uniformed Division)William C.
Davis, WH Policeman James M. Carter, and SAIC Morgan L. Gies: SA Henry
J. Rybka (attending Treasury School from  11/1/63 to 11/8/63 ) and SA
Andrew M. Hutch (who doesn't join the detail until 11/18/63) [Secret
Service Shift Reports for November 1963, inc. 11/1/ 63:RIF#
1541000110180; 11//2/63: RIF#1541000110173;11/3/63: RIF#1541000110167;
11/4/63: RIF# 1541000110160; 11/5/63: RIF# 1541000110153; 11/6/63: RIF#
1541000110146; 11/7/63: RIF# 1541000110139; 11/8/63: RIF#1541000110132;
11/18/63: RIF#1541000110062; 11/22/63: RIF# 1541000110034].
>From the record, then, it appears Shipman died suddenly sometime between
October 3 and 11/1/63. it would be nice to have the travel logs for this
time period, but the Secret Service destroyed them in January 1995:
>From Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board, p. 149:
"However, in January 1995, the Secret Service destroyed presidential
protection survey reports for some of
     President Kennedy's trips in the fall of 1963. The Review Board
learned of the destruction approximately one
     week after the Secret Service destroyed them, when the Board was
drafting its request for additional information.
     The Board believed that the Secret Service files on the President's
travel in the weeks preceding his murder would
     be relevant.
     The Review Board requested the Secret Service to explain the
circumstances surrounding the destruction, after
     passage of the JFK Act. The Secret Service formally explained the
circumstances of this destruction in
     correspondence and an oral briefing to the Review Board."
WHY the destruction? HOW did Shipman die suddenly? WHERE is Shipman's
death certificate?
SA Tom Shipman died in late 1963, before the Texas trip.
So far, that's all we know.

Vince Palamara