NPR : News

There It Is! Area 51 Revealed In Declassified CIA Report

Cue The X-Files theme:

A newly declassified CIA report written in 1992 not only mentions Nevada's Area 51, it places it on a map. What's more, it acknowledges that the place where many sci-fi stories have said space aliens' bodies are being kept is a real-life government facility.

Alas, while the report — a history of the U-2 spy plane program — mentions UFOs, it doesn't say that ET or any of his fellow space travelers are being kept at the site northwest of Las Vegas.

And the UFOs, according to the report, were really U-2s flying at 60,000 feet or so.

(Side note: No, we're not saying we believe the government's been hiding evidence of aliens. We've got our tongue firmly in our cheek on that point.)

We know all this about Area 51 now because the National Security Archive — "journalists and scholars [who] check rising government secrecy" — used the Freedom of Information Act to get the report declassified.

CNet News says that:

"While scant particulars on Area 51 have been discovered over the years through other declassified reports and books that contained interviews with people involved in the operative, this new report is the first time the government has openly referred to Area 51 as a government facility, according to Foreign Policy."

The Las Vegas Review-Journal says the report sheds "some of the official mystery surrounding Nevada's role in developing spy planes of the Cold War."

T.D. Barnes, now 75, was a CIA contractor who "arrived at Area 51 in 1968 as a radar expert," the Review-Journal adds. "He said most of the CIA's 'black operations' in Nevada used code names for the projects but not the facility. He said other unofficial names used for the facility include Dreamland, Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake and Homey Airport. 'The U-2 guys called it Watertown because that was the hometown of the CIA director at the time,' Barnes said, referring to [Allen] Dulles."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit


Patti Smith Reveals Her Solitary Soul In The 'M Train'

Smith follows up to her National Book Award-winning memoir, Just Kids, with another memoir, M Train. Critic Maureen Corrigan says it is a haunting story about weathering life's storms.

Sunpreme: The Grape That Could Revolutionize The Raisin Industry

Harvesting grapes usually takes thousands of workers. But a new raisin grape variety bred in Central California could dramatically cut down on the need for labor.
WAMU 88.5

The Realities And Possibilities Of Eating Well On $4 A Day

Some see the so-called "food stamp challenge" as one that builds empathy, others see it as a publicity stunt. We consider the realities -- and possibilities -- of eating well on $4 a day.

WAMU 88.5

Environmental Outlook: Lessons From Israel's Search For Water

For this month's Environmental Outlook: Ten years ago, Israel experienced a prolonged drought that forced the country to come up with a strategy to address water scarcity. What its experience could teach an increasingly water-starved planet.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.