Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


CIA acknowledges Area 51

17 August 2013, 16:48

Las Vegas - UFO buffs and believers in space aliens are celebrating the CIA's clearest acknowledgement yet of the existence of Area 51, the top-secret Cold War test site that has been the subject of elaborate conspiracy theories for decades.

The recently declassified documents have set the tinfoil-hat contingent abuzz on the Internet, though there's no mention in the papers of UFO crashes, black-eyed extraterrestrials or staged moon landings.

The CIA history released Thursday not only refers to Area 51 by name and describes some of the activities that took place there, but places the US Air Force base on a map, along the dry Groom Lake bed.

It also describes some cool planes, though none of them are saucer-shaped.

George Washington University's National Security Archive used a public records request to obtain the CIA history of one of Area 51's most secret Cold War projects, the U-2 spy plane programme.

National Security Archive senior fellow Jeffrey Richelson first reviewed the history in 2002, but all mentions of the country's most mysterious military base had been redacted. So he requested the history again in 2005, hoping for more information. Sure enough, he received a version a few weeks ago with the mentions of Area 51 restored.

The report is unlikely to stop the conspiracy theories. The 407-page document still contains many redactions, and who's to say those missing sections don't involve little green men?

Some UFO buffs and others believe the most earth shattering revelations will come from Area 51 workers, not an official document.

"The government probably will not release what it knows," UFO researcher Robert Hastings said. "My opinion is that whoever is flying these craft will break the story and will reveal themselves at some point in the future. The CIA is not going to release anything they don't want to talk about."

It's not the first time the government has acknowledged the existence of the super-secret, 8 000-square-mile installation. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush referred to the "location near Groom Lake" in insisting on continued secrecy, and other government references date to the 1960s.

Paradise Ranch

But Richelson as well as those who are convinced "the truth is out there" are taking the document as a sign of loosening secrecy about the government's activities in the Nevada desert.

The site is known as Area 51 among UFO aficionados because that was the base's designation on old Nevada test site maps. The CIA history reveals that officials renamed it "Paradise Ranch" to try to lure skilled workers, who can still be seen over Las Vegas flying to and from the site in unmarked planes.

Beginning with the U-2 in the 1950s, the base has been the testing ground for a host of top-secret aircraft, including the SR-71 Blackbird, F-117A stealth fighter and B-2 stealth bomber. Some believe the base's Strangelovian hangars also store alien vehicles, evidence from the "Roswell incident" - the alleged 1947 crash of a UFO in New Mexico - and extraterrestrial corpses.

The CIA history mentions an "unexpected side effect" of the high-flying planes: "a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects." The U-2 and Oxcart planes, which flew higher than civilians believed possible, accounted for half of UFO sightings during the 1950s and '60s, according to the report.

Even for those who do not believe, the mystery surrounding the site - situated about 160km northwest of Las Vegas, across miles of empty desert speckled with Joshua trees and sagebrush - has been a boon.

One Nevada bicycle event company produces an "X Rides" event that incorporates mountain and road biking near a certain heavily guarded patch of Nevada desert. Las Vegas' minor league baseball team is called "the 51s."

Small-town restaurants along State Route 375, officially designated the Extraterrestrial Highway, sell souvenir T-shirts to tourists making their way to the boundary of Area 51, which consists of a no-trespassing sign, a surveillance camera and an armed guard on a hill.

- AP

Tags cia us aviation

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...