Area 51 — brace yourself, everyone, but it seems the government has been lying to us about it for several decades.
Yes, we were shocked, too, but after the National Security Archive released 407 pages of declassified materials this week, thanks in part to a request from George Washington University, there is no longer any question.
The only downside to the reveal: no mention of alien life forms or research, though they did touch on UFOs. (More on that later.)
Instead, and we know this will shock absolutely no one, the government has used the facility for surveillance aircraft.
The initial project was known as the U-2 project, and was a collaboration between Lockheed and the US Air Force that began about a decade after World War II’s conclusion.
According to the docs, the U-2 project was named for a special manned plane that would fly at a high-altitude, long-range, and photograph remote targets.
The government chose the name U-2 because “they could not call the project aircraft a bomber, fighter, or transport plane, and they did not want anyone to know that the new plane was for reconnaissance, so [Air Force officers] Geary and Culbertson decided that it should come under the utility aircraft category.”
The document continued: “At the time, there were only two utility aircraft on the books, a U-1 and a U-3. [sic] told Culbertson that the Lockheed CL-282 was going to be known officially as the U-2.”
On Thursday, The Atlantic called the Area 51 name “an accident of circumstance.”
Back to the archive: “After consulting with [the CIA’s] Dulles, Bissell and Miller asked the Atomic Energy Commission to add the Groom Lake area to its real estate holdings in Nevada. AEC Chairman Adm. Lewis Strauss readily agreed, and 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 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.”
The really interesting portion of the Area 51 report for us, however, was the now official reveal of why there was a giant boom of UFO reports during the 1950s and 1960s. That explanation can be found in Chapter 2, pages 72 and 73, but we’ll go ahead and excerpt it here:
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