Area 51 has long been a topic of fascination for conspiracy theorists and paranormal enthusiasts, but newly released CIA documents officially acknowledge the site and suggest that the area served a far less remarkable purpose than many had supposed.
According to these reports, which include a map of the base’s location in Nevada, Area 51 was merely a testing site for the government’s U-2 and OXCART aerial surveillance programs. The U-2 program conducted surveillance around the world, including over the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Area 51, about 125 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is synonymous in popular culture with government secrecy, and many have theorized that it holds the answer to one of the greatest questions plaguing mankind: Are we really alone in the universe?
But the newly released documents make no mention of alien autopsy rooms or spaceship parking lots.
This information will be disappointing to some, who have come to view the area has been a mecca of sorts for alien encounters.
For these true believers, the existence of alien spacecraft at Area 51, and the government’s attempts to cover up their trace, is irrefutable and has been since reports of Unidentified Flying Objects — or UFOs — began to emerge from the Nevada desert in the middle part of the 20th century.
The map and other documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Jeffrey T. Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archives, in 2005.
Richelson submitted the request as part of his continuing study of aerial surveillance programs and told CNN that he was not given an explanation of why the new documents were less redacted than previous versions declassified by the agency.