According to a National Geographic special just two years ago, this day should never have come because the Central Intelligence Agency “has never and will never, ever admit there is an Area 51.”
But now, the National Security Archive at George Washington University has released the CIA’s original documents on its spy plane program.
And in those documents, for the first time, is a mention of Area 51 – a complex of runways and hangars in Nevada that were used to develop the Blackbird – the famous cold war spy plane. You can see one in Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
At a time when the Boeing 707 was considered cutting edge, the Blackbird could fly more than twice as high and four times as fast, and so of course, commercial airline pilots had seen nothing like it. And test pilots were told to lie.
So test flights became UFO sightings, setting off a phenomenon that just won’t die.
Will this new document, finally acknowledging Area 51’s existence and its original mission, end the speculation?
No, even Jim Freedman, who was the supervisor of field operations for the original spy plane program and knew exactly what was going on back then, remains curious.
“I’ve even heard Area 51 is a cover story for a much more secret area. I wish I knew,” says Freedman.