CIA Acknowledges Area 51 in Declassified Documents

Friday, Aug 16, 2013  |  Updated 9:17 PM EDT
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    The CIA is acknowledging the existence of Area 51 in newly declassified documents and X-Files enthusiasts will be disappointed to learn that it makes no mention of aliens or UFOs.

    According to a CIA report obtained by George Washington University's National Security Archive, Area 51 served as a testing site for the government's U-2 and the A-12 OXCART aerial surveillance programs.

    GWU obtained a CIA history of the U-2 spy plane program through a Freedom of Information Act request and released it Thursday.

    National Security Archive senior fellow Jeffrey Richelson reviewed the history in 2002, but all mentions of Area 51 had been redacted.

    U-2 landing gear and pogos

    Richelson says he requested the history again in 2005 and received a version a few weeks ago with mentions of Area 51 restored.

    Area 51, located about 125 miles northwest of Las Vegas, has long been associated with pop culture, science fiction and government secrecy. Movies like "Independence Day" perpetuate the theory that it's a haven for extraterrestrials like the alien that supposedly crash landed in its UFO at Roswell.

    But the new version of the CIA report makes no mention of alien corpses or junked spaceships.

    Officials have already acknowledged in passing the existence of the facility in central Nevada where the government is believed to test intelligence tools and weapons.

    Richelson believes the new document shows the CIA is becoming less secretive about Area 51's existence, if not about what goes on there.

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