CIA lifts the lid on Area 51 for the first time EVER: Agency acknowledges existence of test area at last as it releases new map and scores of documents on spy plane tests
- The government says Area 51 was developed so the CIA could test Cold War-era U-2 spy planes
- On April 12, 1955, scouts were flying over the Nevada desert looking for a test spot for the U-2 when they spotted Groom Lake
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the plan to build the secret base at Groom Lake
By Daily Mail Reporter
For the first time ever, the United States government is acknowledging the existence of the enigmatic military base in the southern Nevada desert famously known as Area 51. But its purpose, according to recently released documents, is far less spectacular than most UFO enthusiasts would have hoped.
The National Security Archive at George Washington University recently published a report entitled ‘The Secret History of the U-2.’ It chronicles the history and importance of the spy planes that were frequently used during the Cold War.
In their research for the report, the NSA the researchers obtained declassified documents about the planes that actually reference Area 51 on several occasions – as well as a map of the secret base.
The documents were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request made in 2005.
It does exist! For the first time ever, the United States government acknowledges that Area 51 exists
Area 51 typically is associated with governmental secrecy, particularly in terms of UFOs and extra terrestrials. Conspiracy theorists often claim that a downed alien spacecraft is being held and studied in the facility, based more on the fact that the government has – until now – never acknowledged that the base exists and kept the goings on inside its walls a secret than actual, documented facts.
Of the many UFO theories, conspiracy buffs also believe the site was used to – among other things – hold meetings with extraterrestrial life forms, design exotic energy weapons, develop means for weather control, develop time travel and host meetings of the shadowy Majestic 12 one world government organization.
In developing the U-2, the government needed a secret – and reliable – test facility somewhere in the United States.
On April 12, 1955, scouts were flying over the Nevada desert when they spotted Groom Lake, according to ‘The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance,’ an internal CIA history of the U-2 program written by Gregory W. Pedlow and Donald E. Welzenbach that was declassified when the NSA submitted their FOIA request.
Secretive: In 1955, the U.S. government needed a secret place to test the U-2 spy plane
The CIA chose Groom Lake in Nevada and brought the first U-2s there in July of 1955
Cold War: The U-2 played enormous role in the Cold War and flew countless missions over the former Soviet Union and Cuba
‘On 12 April 1955, Richard Bissell and Col. Osmund Ritland (the senior Air Force officer on the project staff) flew over Nevada with Kelly Johnson on a small Beechcraft plane piloted by Lockheed’s chief test pilot, Tony LeVier,’ the document reads. ‘They spotted what appeared to be an airstrip by a salt flat known as Groom Lake, near the northeast corner of the Atomic Energy Commission’s (AEC) Nevada Proving Ground.’
The men agreed that Groom Lake was the perfect spot for the new, top-secret base, and asked the AEC to add it to its real estate holdings in Nevada.
Conspiracy: UFO junkies believe the government is hiding a crashed alien spacecraft at Area 51
The Perfect Spot: Scouts looking for a place to test the U-2 decided Groom Lake – later Area 51 – was the perfect spot
‘President Eisenhower also approved the addition of this strip of wasteland, known by its map designation as Area 51, to the Nevada Test Site,’ the history continues.
‘The outlines of Area 51 are shown on current unclassified maps as a small rectangular area adjoining the northeast corner of the much larger Nevada Test Site. To make the new facility in the middle of nowhere sound more attractive to his workers, Kelly Johnson called it the Paradise Ranch, which was soon shortened to the Ranch.’
The first planes were delivered to Area 51 on July 25, 1955, and the trials began two days later.
The first documented test flight occurred on August 4, 1955.
The employees who worked at the base actually were flown in from Burbank, California on Monday mornings and returned on Friday afternoons, beginning on October 3, 1955.
The Air Force took over the base when the CIA was done with it in 1957, and continued using it as a training ground for U-2 pilots.
The new declassified documents don’t reveal any earth-shattering details, but as Jeffrey Richelson, a senior fellow with the National Security Archive who found the documents, points out, ‘It marks an end of official secrecy about the facts of Area 51
‘It opens up the possibility that future accounts of this and other aerial projects will be less redacted, more fully explained in terms of their presence in Area 51,” he tells the Las Vegas Sun.