Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Document confirms Area 51 exists
LAS VEGAS -- For decades, it was the U.S. government's Cold War-era secret that hid in plain sight, the 1,000-pound elephant in the Nevada desert that Washington continually denied -- "What test site?" -- and the rest of the country turned into a breeding ground for conspiracy theories.
Well, now it's official: Area 51 really does exist.
In newly declassified documents, the Central Intelligence Agency is acknowledging the existence of the mysterious war-test site in central Nevada that has spawned endless speculation about UFO landings and top-secret aliens. The site started as a testing ground for the infamous U-2 surveillance plane and went on to house other spy-versus-spy hardware.
On Thursday, George Washington University's National Security Archive released a copy of the CIA history of the U-2 spy plane program it had acquired through a public records request. The report officially places the site on a map of a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base on the Nevada Test and Training Range, about 144 km north of Las Vegas.
For all its intrigue, the 400-page report carries a rather pedestrian name: Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and Oxcart Programs, 1954-1974.
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," said National Security Archive senior fellow Jeffrey Richelson. "But if people are looking for sections on dead aliens and interspecies contact, they'll be disappointed. It's just not there."
The U-2 planes fly at an altitude of 60,000 feet, which during the 1950s, when Area 51 first gained its notoriety, was higher than any other plane operating, according to the new CIA documents. When people saw the unfamiliar aircraft, many became suspicious and believed the crafts were piloted by aliens, the documents said.
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 apparently redacted. Three years later, he requested another version of the original 1992 report.
Last month he got his reply: a new copy of the report with all mentions of Area 51 restored.
Parts of the report read like a John le Carre thriller, detailing the first time CIA project director Richard Bissell and Air Force Col. Osmund Ritlandt spotted a possible site for their secret program, then an old airstrip next to a salt flat named Groom Lake.
They viewed it from a small Beechcraft plane piloted by Tony LeVier, Lockheed's chief test pilot. And they liked what they saw.
The CIA report says the group agreed that the location "would make an ideal site for testing the U-2 and training its pilots." The lightweight spy plane was being built by Lockheed at its top-secret "Skunk Works" plant in Burbank, Calif.
President Dwight Eisenhower later approved the addition of the strip of wasteland, known by its map designation as Area 51, to the Nevada Test site, according to the document.
-- The Los Angeles Times
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 17, 2013 A28
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
(1 of 19 articles for today)3:45 PM 0
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Whoever snatched a seal or sea lion pup from a Los Angeles beach early Sunday should ...
Photo Store Gallery
- Rough times in Russia
- Video purports to show Islamic State militants killing captured Ethiopian Christians in Libya
- Caged puppies on car roof trigger flurry of 911 calls in Ohio, police take custody
- Canada's turn as Arctic Council head to end at Iqaluit meeting; Kerry takes over
- California serial killer denied parole; man went on 9-day crime rampage, killing 4
- Sheriff: Cannot arrest woman who bragged on Facebook of killing cat unless photo is genuine
- Fearful immigrants say South Africans warned they would target anyone with foreign passport
- Egypt court sentences 11 fans to death in 2012 soccer riot, in highly charged case
- Republicans disagree on foreign policy
- Man pleads guilty to charges related to 6-year-old daughter's severely rotten teeth
- Dispatcher seemed confused by 911 call: 'I'm inside a plane, and I feel like it's moving'
- As her 2016 campaign debuts, Republican presidential candidates already united against Clinton
- Court releases video of 'Suge' Knight running over 2 men, other evidence in case
- Couple killed with baby when concrete slab fell from overpass onto pickup were youth ministers
- 'Free-range' parenting under the gun
- Police again pick up children, 6 and 10, of 'free-range' parents, take kids to child services
- Milwaukee motorist shot, killed after van strikes child; teen brother of child also killed
- Physicians want Dr. Mehmet Oz gone from Columbia medical faculty, say he lacks integrity
- Driver who hit toddler in US street starts chain of events that leaves 4 people dead
- It wasn't the strippers, it was the noise that led to downfall of a Florida stripper school
- Alps plane crash cause remains mystery; report says audio shows 1 pilot locked out of cockpit
- German co-pilot locks cockpit, deliberately slams plane into Alps; investigators study why
- Co-pilot appeared healthy, but may have hidden illness, torn-up sick notes for day of crash
- Report says 1 pilot locked out of cockpit before crash that killed 150 people
- Al-Shabab gunmen kill 147 at university in Kenya; 4 attackers slain by troops to end siege
- Germanwings co-pilot researched suicide, cockpit doors before crash; France finds 2nd recorder
- German airline could face 'unlimited' damages for crash blamed on co-pilot
- Utility says it removed stolen electric meter from rental home where 8 died of gas poisoning
- Gunman in Kenyan massacre was government official's son, underscoring threat from within
- White SC police officer charged with murder in black man's death after dramatic video emerges
Ads by Google