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

Man shot dead after argument at bar south of Everett

Police say an employee of the bar shot and killed the man, who had opened fire in the parking lot.

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

They check tickets, help riders, sometimes get screamed at

13 sheriff’s deputies (so far) patrol Community Transit’s fleet of nearly 300 buses.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Alaska Airlines to announce Paine Field destinations Tuesday

The Snohomish County airport’s passenger terminal is slated to see flights this fall.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Community Health Center opening its seventh clinic

The nonprofit is dedicated to providing care for low-income and uninsured patients.

More help is coming for homeless addicts

The county plans to repurpose its former work release building in for use as a diversion center.

Most Read