Despite years of denying the existence of Area 51, the CIA, in response to a Freedom of Information Request from the National Security Archive has finally confirmed that the Nevada base exists and that it is, indeed, named Area 51.
This is welcome news, but I wanted to write about how the government’s lack of integrity and openness has hurt the public trust and cost lives. Nearly 20 years ago, I received a call from Helen Frost claiming that the government killed her husband, Robert Frost. Unfortunately, Robert Frost and many of the other civilian workers at Area 51 who worked downwind of the burn pits were exposed to the smoke and all of its contaminants.
POGO had only three staffers at the time, and none of us practiced law so we turned to The George Washington Law School and its Environmental Crimes Project directed by Jonathan Turley. We participated in some very interesting meetings with government (military and intelligence) officials and foreign governments (who owned 1990s satellite images of the facility near Groom Lake, Nevada) and conducted telling interviews with current and former Area 51 workers and self-proclaimed UFO watchers.
Recently, we have witnessed government attempts to infringe on privacy in the name of national security.
Now it’s time for the government to admit that that it violated environmental laws and exposed Area 51 workers to hazardous waste.
The Congressional Management Foundation offers the Gold Mouse Awards annually to members of Congress who make the most of the opportunity the digital world offers them. Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. It is one of the most covert military bases on American soil, protecting the nation’s most confidential research and development. If you wish to receive a notification each time a new post appears on High T3ch, feel free to subscribe. Area 51 is a remote tract of land in the southwestern portion of Lincoln County in southern Nevada in the western United States. Other names used for the facility include Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake and most recently Homey Airport.
The intense secrecy surrounding the base, the very existence of which the US Government barely acknowledges, has led it to become the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and UFO folklore. Area 51 shares a border with the Yucca Flats region of the Nevada Test Site (NTS), the location of many of the US Department of Energy's nuclear weapons tests.
The area is connected to the internal NTS road network, with paved roads leading south to Mercury and west to Yucca Flats. Groom Lake is not a conventional airbase, as frontline units are not normally deployed there. Soviet spy satellites obtained photographs of the Groom Lake area during the height of the Cold War, and later civilian satellites produced detailed images of the base and its surroundings. Groom Lake was used for bombing and artillery practice during World War II, but was then abandoned until 1955, when it was selected by Lockheed's Skunk Works team as the ideal location to test the forthcoming U-2 spy plane. Lockheed constructed a makeshift base at Groom, consisting of little more than a few shelters, workshops and trailer homes in which to house its small team. During this period, the NTS continued to perform a series of atmospheric nuclear explosions. As the U-2's primary mission was to fly over the Soviet Union, it operated largely from airbases near the Soviet border, including Incirlik in Turkey, Peshawar in Pakistan, and Bodø, Norway. Even before U-2 development was complete, Lockheed began work on its successor, the CIA's OXCART project, a Mach-3 high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, a later variant of which became the famed USAF SR-71 Blackbird.
The first Have Blue prototype stealth fighter (a smaller cousin of the F-117 Nighthawk) first flew at Groom in December 1977. Aircraft that have been tested at Groom include the Northrop Tacit Blue stealth demonstrator, various classified UAVs, and a stealthy cruise missile (most likely the AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile). Defense contractor EG&G maintains a private terminal at McCarran International Airport in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Commuter service is provided along Groom Lake Road by a bus, catering to a small number of employees living in several small communities beyond the NTS boundary (although it is not clear whether these workers are employed at Groom or at other facilities in the NTS). Unlike much of the Nellis range, the area surrounding the lake is permanently off-limits both to civilian and normal military air traffic. Perimeter security is provided by uniformed private security guards working for EG&G's security subcontractor Wackenhut, who patrol in desert camouflage Jeep Cherokees and HMMWV vehicles, and more recently, champagne-colored Ford F-150 pickups and gray Chevy 2500 4X4 pickups. Although federal property within the base is exempt from state and local taxes, facilities owned by private contractors are not.
Its secretive nature and undoubted connection to classified aircraft research, together with reports of unusual phenomena, have led Area 51 to become a focus of modern UFO and conspiracy theories. The storage, examination, and reverse engineering of crashed alien spacecraft (including material supposedly recovered at Roswell), the study of their occupants (living and dead), and the manufacture of aircraft based on alien technology. The development of exotic energy weapons (for SDI applications or otherwise) or means of weather control. Activities related to a supposed shadowy one world government and or the Majestic Twelve organization.
Others, however, claim that during the mid 1990s, the most secret work previously done at Groom was quietly moved to other facilities, including Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, and that the continued secrecy around Groom is largely a successful attempt at misdirection.
The 1998-2001 television series Seven Days took place largely inside the Area 51 complex itself, with the base depicted as being run by a covert National Security Agency operation which used time-travel made possible by alien technology recovered from the 1947 Roswell UFO incident.
Also, in the game RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, one of the parks is called 'Broom Lake' and is run by a group of CIA operatives, and in the MMORPG World of Warcraft, a town in the zone Netherstorm is called 'Area 52'.
In the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Area 51 (Parodied as Area 69 in the game) is placed in a large open tract of land, designated as a No-Fly Zone in the Map included in the game case and simply unnamed on the in-game map.
Pickett, he was asked to visit MacDill Air Force Base in Florida in 1967 to write an article on historic aircraft.
Suspended upside down, a titanium A-12 spy-plane prototype is prepped for radar testing at Area 51 in the late 1950s. Remnants of a crashed A-12 spy planea€”including two engines and the shattered rear fuselagea€”litter the ground near Wendover, Utah, in a 1963 picture recently declassified by the CIA and published here for the first time.Things went horribly wrong for test pilot Ken Collins (flying under his Area 51 code name Ken Colmar) when testing the plane's subsonic engines at low altitude. An aerial photo shows a massive rapid-response team at the site of the A-12 crash near Wendover, Utah, in 1963.After pilot Ken Collins had parachuted to the ground, he was stunned to be greeted by three civilians in a pickup, who offered to give him a ride to the wreckage of his plane. A crane hoists A-12 debris (right) onto a flatbed truck at the site of the 1963 A-12 crash in Utah.
On the 50th anniversary of the upheaval, we look at images that one brave photographer hid from the government.


A sinkhole in Floridaa€™s Aucilla River is an a€?archaeological gold minea€? that offers a rare glimpse of life in ancient America.
The impeccably preserved skeletons could shed further light on the extinction that killed off woolly mammoths.
Professor Turley took the case pro bono and POGO assisted in the investigation into the alleged burning of hazardous waste at Area 51.
Despite making valid claims and offering the court proof that Area 51 existed, had a name, and contained hazardous waste, the security manual and anything that referenced it were retroactively classified by the Air Force.
Area 51 highlights the government’s use of secrecy to avoid environmental standards that protect workers and the environment.
It might be too late for some workers, but it would be nice to see the government come completely out of the dark and accept responsibility for its actions.
Some of Scott's investigations center on contract oversight, human trafficking, the revolving door, and ethics issues. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.
A block of land 6 miles north-to-south by 10 miles east-to-west, it is bordered by Nellis Air Force Base on the northwest, north, east, and south, and by the Nevada Test Site on the southwest. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of a dry lakebed (salt lake), is a large military airfield, one of the most secretive places in the world. The area is part of the Nellis Military Operations Area, and military pilots refer to the forbidden airspace around it (R-4808N) as The Box. The Yucca Mountain nuclear storage facility is approximately 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Groom Lake. Leading northeast from the lake, the wide and well-maintained Groom Lake Road runs through a pass in the Jumbled Hills. It instead appears to be used during the development, testing, and training phases for new aircraft.
These images support only modest conclusions about the base; they depict a nondescript base, long airstrip, hangars and the lake, but nothing that supports some of the claims about underground facilities. The lakebed made an ideal strip from which they could operate the troublesome test aircraft, and the Emigrant Valley's mountain ranges and the NTS perimeter protected the test site from prying eyes and outside interference. The first U-2 flew at Groom in August 1955, and U-2s under the control of the CIA began overflights of Soviet territory by mid-1956.
U-2 operations throughout 1957 were frequently disrupted by the Plumbbob series of atomic tests, which detonated over two dozen devices at the NTS. The Blackbird's flight characteristics and maintenance requirements forced a massive expansion of facilities and runways at Groom Lake. Testing of a series of ultra-secret prototypes continued there until mid-1981, when testing transitioned to the initial production of F-117 stealth fighters. A number of unmarked aircraft operate daily shuttle services from McCarran to sites operated by EG&G in the extensive federally controlled lands in southern Nevada.
The bus travels Groom Lake Road and stops at Crystal Springs, Ash Springs, and Alamo, and parks at the Alamo court house overnight. The base is conspicuously absent from Federal publications and inquiries to the government regarding the facility are rejected for reasons of national security. Although the guards are armed with M16s, no violent encounters with Area 51 observers have been reported; instead, the guards generally follow visitors near the perimeter and radio for the Lincoln County Sheriff. Area 51 researcher Glenn Campbell claimed in 1994 that the base only declares a taxable value of $2 million to the Lincoln County tax assessor, who is unable to enter the area to perform an assessment.
In 1989, Bob Lazar claimed that he had worked at a facility at Papoose Lake (which he called S-4) on such a U.S. In 2000-2001, Fox Television broadcast a show about Apollo moon landing hoax accusations, in which it was suggested that the entire moon landing in 1969 was a hoax and was filmed in parts of Area 51. He claimed that he had made a copy of the tape during a scheduled transfer of analogue videotape files on the base into digital form, and had then smuggled the copy out of Area 51. The numerous conspiracy theories surrounding Area 51 have granted it a fairly high profile in popular culture, specifically in the area of science fiction.
A few missions include this zone, with most, if not all, involving secret military projects and relations to extra-terrestrial contact. At 25,000 feet (7,620 meters), "the airplane pitched up and went up and got inverted and went into a flat incipient spin," Collins says in the new National Geographic Channel documentary Area 51 Declassified.
Instead, Collins got them to give him a ride in the opposite direction, by telling them the plane had a nuclear weapon on boarda€”a prearranged cover story to keep the Area 51 craft a secret.Soon a team of government agents appeared to direct a complete cleanupa€”and cover-upa€”operation.
In their judgment, the photos of the 1963 crash no longer are, and so they were declassified and released," Robarge told National Geographic News."In 2007 the CIA declassified over a thousand documents related to the OXCART program and published an unclassified history of it in conjunction with the acquisition from the Air Force of one of the nine remaining A-12 airframes," now on display at CIA headquarters, Robarge added.
Part of an engine nacelle and an exhaust ejector are visible at left.Though the CIA has released some photos of the incident, officials remain mum about exactly who was involved in the cover-up and how it was carried out.
Subsequently, Helen sent me bankers boxes of documents that confirmed her husband was a civilian employee at Area 51 and that he had worked downwind of open-air pits. The case wasn’t about revealing alien technology or classified government weapons and projects. POGO put together an exhibit for the court detailing the numerous instances in which government, military, and Lockheed Martin officials described and named the facility in official government records or other publications. Very bitter sweet to say the least, especially for Helen Frost, Area 51 workers and their families. It’s certainly one thing to have the government stalk your phone and internet usage, but it is another thing for the Area 51 workers to serve their country and die protecting government secrets, and in return have the government turn its back on them and their families.
Although the government will not discuss its existence, many highly classified national defense projects have been conducted at AREA 51 since the 1950s and the airspace around the base is off-limits even to most military pilots.
The base's primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems. The road formerly led to mines in the Groom basin, but has been improved since their closure. Once these aircraft have been approved by the United States Air Force or other agencies such as the CIA, operation of that aircraft is generally conducted from a normal air force base. The Plumbbob-Hood explosion on July 5 scattered fallout across Groom and forced a temporary evacuation. By the time the first A-12 Blackbird prototype flew at Groom in 1962, the main runway had been lengthened to 8500 ft (2600 m), and the base boasted a complement of over 1000 personnel.


In addition to flight testing, Groom performed radar profiling, F-117 weapons testing, and was the location for training of the first group of frontline USAF F-117 pilots. Deadly force is authorized if violators who attempt to breach the secured area fail to heed warnings to halt. Similarly the National Atlas page showing federal lands in Nevada does not distinguish between the Groom block and other parts of the Nellis range. The video appears to show the head of an alien creature in a dark interrogation room, allegedly using telepathy to communicate with military personnel and scientists.
There have been literally dozens of movies or television shows which deal with fictionalized events or happenings at the site. Cold Warriors with the highest security clearances could pursue cutting-edge aeronautical projects away from prying eyes. By the next morning, recovery crews had begun loading the wreckage on trucks for the return trip to Area 51 in Nevada.No one else approached the wreck site or even learned of the crash during the next half century. It was about the burning of potentially toxic waste, and whether any of that waste caused the workers’ illnesses and deaths. Not on the merits mind you, but on the ridiculous claim that anything related to the base was classified, even its illegal burning of trash and hazardous waste.
Adding insult to injury for the workers and their families, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W.
Its winding course runs past a security checkpoint, but the restricted area around the base extends further east. Groom is reported, however, to be the permanent home for a small number of Soviet-designed aircraft (obtained by various means), which are analyzed and used for training purposes. Subsequently, the still highly classified active-service F-117 operations moved to the nearby Tonopah Test Range, and finally to Holloman Air Force Base.Since the F-117 became operational in 1983, operations at Groom Lake have continued unabated. EG&G advertises in the Las Vegas press for experienced military pilots, requiring applicants to be eligible for government security clearance, and that successful applicants can expect to always stay overnight at Las Vegas. Fines of around $600 seem to be the normal course of action, although some visitors and journalists report receiving follow-up visits from FBI agents.
The footage was eventually included in a video documentary entitled Area 51: The Alien Interview. Perhaps the most well-known example is the 1996 action film Independence Day, in which the complex is shown to have been studying the crashed scout ship from the Roswell UFO incident of 1947. She is dragged to a High Security Compound, of which is in involvement is some sort of trading with Area 51. This denotes a direct reference to the high level of security and secrecy surrounding Area 51. Our exhibit included references by members of Congress, military documents, copies of Nellis Air Force Base newsletters, and an Area 51 security manual that identified the base and many buildings as well as policies and procedures. In addition, the Air Force invoked the State Secrets privilege on the theory that foreign governments could learn about government operations and programs if the contents of the burn pits were revealed. Bush exempted Area 51 from publicly posting anything about Area 51’s environmental compliance.
AREA 51 is also the approximate location where scientist Robert Lazar claims to have worked for the U.S. The base and its associated runway system have been expanded, and the daily flights bringing civilian commuters from Las Vegas continue. Some observers have been detained on public land for pointing camera equipment at the base. Corona spy satellite in the 1960s has been altered prior to declassification; in answer to freedom of information queries, the government responds that these exposures (which map to Groom and the entire NAFR) appear to have been destroyed.
The heroes of the film later make their final attack from the airstrips at the base, and in a nod to established fact, Randy Quaid's character Russell Casse at one point refers to the base not being shown on a state map of Nevada. But don't expect any information to emerge for several decadesa€”despite the recent declassifications, CIA's Robarge still won't confirm the base exists.
The court challenge pitting environmental compliance against secrecy was appealed and went all the way up to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case in 1998. Groom saw the first flight of all major Blackbird variants: A-12, SR-71, its abortive YF-12 interceptor variant, and the D-21 Blackbird-based drone project. Some commentators, after examining recent satellite photos of the base, estimate it to have a live-in complement of over 1000 people, with a similar number commuting from Las Vegas.
Surveillance is supplemented using buried motion sensors and by HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters. In the past, there were actually two viewpoints from which the public could legally view this secret facility -- from White Sides and Freedom Ridge -- but the Air Force closed down both locations in 1995. In 1995, the federal government expanded the exclusionary area around the base to include nearby mountains that had hither to afforded the only decent overlook of the base.
Some people say that the Blackbird was scrapped for a new plane called the Aurora, even though the government claims that the latter is just a myth. Subsequently, limited views of the area are available only from the summits of several distant mountains east.
They are reported to shuttle to Groom, Tonopah Test Range, to other locations in the NAFR and NTS, and reportedly to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.
Higher resolution (and more recent) images from other satellite imagery providers (including Russian providers and the IKONOS) are commercially available.
Observers tracking the number of departures and cars in the private EG&G parking lot at McCarran estimate several thousand JANET commuters each day.
These show, in considerable detail, the runway marking, base facilities, aircraft, and vehicles.
These shuttle flights were previously operated by Key Air, which had flown 22,000 passenger trips on 300 flights from Nellis Air Force Base to Tonopah Test Range per month from 1982 until early 1991.



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