Recently released Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents acknowledge the existence of the Area 51 military base, which has developed experimental aircraft since the 1950s.
The U2 spy plane was developed and tested at Area 51, but the base has since become the epicenter of UFO watchers and alien film plots.
Area 51, located in the Mojave Desert in Nevada, has long been known, but not officially recognized by its name.
The CIA documents were released as a result of a FOIA request related to a CIA-authored history of the U2 program. According to the Washington Post, “The CIA internally published its official history of the U-2 program in 1992. It was released in heavily redacted form thereafter, and National Security Archive fellow Jeffrey Richelson reviewed a copy in 2002. He filed a new Freedom of Information Act request in 2005 and the documents arrived about a month ago, this time with fewer redactions. Therein, the first-ever reference to Area 51.”
The Washington Post reports on Area 51.
Graduate students in History will be interested in this story, which shows the importance of public history work.