News / USA

US Acknowledges Location of Secretive Test Site, but Not Aliens

An April 18, 1996 file phoso shows a Nevada Governor Bob Miller (C), presiding over the unveiling of a new road sign for Nevada State Highway 375, the site for many UFO sightings, in  Rachel, north of Las Vegas.
An April 18, 1996 file phoso shows a Nevada Governor Bob Miller (C), presiding over the unveiling of a new road sign for Nevada State Highway 375, the site for many UFO sightings, in Rachel, north of Las Vegas.
VOA News
The U.S. for the first time is acknowledging the location of a secretive aerial surveillance test site that conspiracy theorists have long claimed might be the home for extraterrestrials who have invaded the country.

In declassified documents disclosed this week, the Central Intelligence Agency showed a map of the remote Area 51 site in the western state of Nevada, about 130 kilometers northwest of the well-known gambling mecca of Las Vegas.

The CIA's declassified map of Groom Lake/Area 51.The CIA's declassified map of Groom Lake/Area 51.
x
The CIA's declassified map of Groom Lake/Area 51.
The CIA's declassified map of Groom Lake/Area 51.
The CIA said it used the nearly 1,500-square-kilometer site from 1954-1974 as testing grounds for the government's U-2 and Oxcart aerial surveillance programs. The U.S. deployed U-2 planes, flying at an altitude of 18 kilometers, around the world at the height of the Cold War, including over the Soviet Union.

The CIA document released by the National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington traced the history of the aircraft testing. It made no mention of  the facility's role since 1974, although the government is believed to be using it for testing intelligence tools and weapons.

The report said the high-altitude U-2 tests led to an unexpected side effect - a huge increase in reports of unidentified flying objects. At the time, government officials attributed the UFO sightings to natural phenomena.

But conspiracy theorists in the U.S. have long remained skeptical of governmental pronouncements about the site. Tales of alien landings, time travel and meetings with extraterrestrials and other exotic theories about Area 51 have for years played a role in popular American movies, fostering even more curiosity about the site.

The U-2 played a prominent role in one of the Cold War's most celebrated incidents, when the Soviets shot down American spy pilot Gary Powers in 1960. He was convicted of espionage against the Soviet Union, but eventually returned to the U.S. in an exchange of spy prisoners between the two countries.  

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid