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

District takes steps to secure school campuses

Safety measures have been enhanced at Hawthorne and Silver Firs elementary schools in Everett.

Hard work is paying off for Mariner High senior

Mey Ly has excelled in school since moving here from Cambodia; she also serves as an intrepreter.

County under flood watch; back-to-back storms promise heavy rain

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch Monday for… Continue reading

1 arrested after SWAT team moves in on Marysville house

The incident was connected to an earlier robbery.

Yes to turn signal — eventually

Adding a right-turn signal at 112th St. and 7th Ave. is turning out to be a bit more complicated.

No easy exit from Smokey Point shopping complex

There’s just no easy exit on this one. A reader called in… Continue reading

Is the state Transportation Commission irrelevant?

A report says the citizen panel often is ignored, and its duties overlap with the Transportation Department.

Front Porch

EVENTS Free Thanksgiving feast in Edmonds Annie’s Community Kitchen serves a free… Continue reading

Most Read