Satellite image of Area 51
Newly declassified CIA documents reveal the history of Nevada’s Area 51. The area was never home to aliens or UFOs, but was instead a super secret site for testing spy planes such as the U-2.
The document, “The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: the U-2 and Oxcart Programs,” was released recently in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request made by George Washington University in 2005. Area 51, a desert tract near Groom Lake, about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas, was first chosen by officials searching for a place to test planes and train pilots flying the U-2 in 1955. The airstrip by a salt flat was used for the U-2 plane, as well as its successors, the Lockheed A-12 Oxcart, the D-21 Tagboard and the F-117 Stealth Fighter. The document doesn’t reveal what’s been done at the base since 1974. Area 51 buffs are unlikely to be surprised by the new disclosure: Many of these facts had been suspected for years and government officials have even mentioned the area offhandedly on occasion. However, this is the first time Area 51 is explicitly mentioned in a publicly available government document.

In a newly declassified document, the CIA has finally acknowledged the existence of the mysterious Area 51, the US airbase rumored to house UFOs.

On Thursday, George Washington University’s National Security Archive released a CIA history of the U-2 spy plane which it had obtained through a public records request.

The 400-page report explains the 1955 acquisition of the site in central Nevada, about 90 miles north of Las Vegas, for testing of the secret spy plane. The site was chosen for the U-2 program after an aerial survey by CIA and Air Force staff.

The plane, used to spy on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, is still used by the US Air Force.

Many science fiction films and wild UFO tales have for decades claimed that the US government imposed secrecy over the site to cover up evidence of extra-terrestrials touching down on Earth.

“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 inter-species contact, they’ll be disappointed. It’s just not there.”