CIA acknowledges Area 51 — but not UFOs or aliens

LAS VEGAS — For decades, Area 51 was the U.S. government’s Cold War-era secret that hid in plain sight, the 5-ton elephant in the Nevada desert that Washington continually denied (“No, it’s not there”), prompting reams of conspiracy theories.

Well, now it’s official: Area 51 really does exist.

In newly declassified documents, the CIA is acknowledging the existence of the mysterious war-test site in central Nevada that has captivated listeners on the far ends of the radio dial, spawning countless UFO conspiracies.

On Thursday, George Washington University’s National Security Archive released a copy of the CIA history of the U-2 spy plane program that was acquired through a public records request. The report even places the site on a map, near Rachel, Nev., about 90 miles north of Las Vegas.

But hold on to your seat, all you Area 51 buffs: The lengthy report contains no reference to little green men from outer space.

“There is a section on the relationship between the U-2 program being responsible for UFO sightings,” National Security Archive senior fellow Jeffrey Richelson told the Los Angeles Times on Friday. “But if people are looking for sections on dead aliens and interspecies contact, they’ll be disappointed. It’s just not there.”

Richelson’s quest for answers goes back years. He first reviewed the CIA’s history of the site in 2002, but found all mention of Area 51 redacted. Three years later, he requested another version of the original 1992 report.

Last month he got his reply: a new copy of the 400-page report with all mentions of Area 51 restored.

He says the new document shows the CIA is becoming less secretive about Area 51’s existence, and that bodes well for future information requests about the Cold War weapons race.

“Now you can read in some detail about U-2 missions of the past,” he told the Times. “We always knew there were 24 U-2 missions over the Soviet Union but it’s nice to have maps and a table with each pilot’s name and each payload.

“Hopefully further information about those classified missions will come out in time.”

—-

©2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

——-

More in Local News

Finalists for EdCC presidency holding campus meetings

A search committee reviewed 19 applicants and recommended three finalists to the Board of Trustees.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Everett coaches reaching out to teens about dating violence

Free training focuses on a known strength of coaches: Being positive role models.

Suspected drunk driver crash in Bothell sends two to hospital

The man suspected of causing the Saturday afternoon collision was not injured.

Election results for Snohomish County school districts

Updated 2/16: Here are the returns for Tuesday’s special election ballot measures.

Scattered power outages around region after gusty Saturday

Up to 2 inches of snow could fall in some lowland areas of Snohomish County, forecasters said.

School levies still passing in 3 districts after latest tally

In the initial count, ballot measures in Lake Stevens, Marysville and Snohomish had been losing.

Power outages hit north Snohomish County as snow covers area

There was no timeline for when PUD crews expected to restore power for 5,800 customers.

Everett appeals court’s ban on dress code for bikini baristas

The baristas say they seek to protect their civil rights. The case is on hold pending the appeal.

Most Read