Area 51 declassified in release to university

Published: August 15, 2013, 3:38 pm, by Tom Roeder

cia-logoThe National Security Archive at George Washington University dug up some gold with a Freedom of Information Act Request on the Central Intelligence Agency’s spy plane program.

The CIA released parts of a declassified history of the U-2 and SR-71 programs, that among other thingsĀ  acknowledges the existence of Area 51, a secret government test site in Nevada.

For decades, the government has avoided all mention of Area 51, which sits on land once dedicated to atomic testing. The site was the birthplace of many famous aviation programs including the U-2 and SR-71, which were used to spy on the Soviet Union. The release includes a handy map to the secret site north of Las Vegas.

Area-51-map“What the CIA released in response to a 2005 Freedom of Information Act request is a substantially less redacted version of a history of two key aerial reconnaissance programs,” the university said on its website. “Written by agency historians Gregory Pedlow and Donald Welzenbach, and titled The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974, the study was published in classified channels in 1992.”

The aircraft programs have been acknowledged for years, but the history of the program offers fascinating details of how they were designed and funded through the CIA’s “black budget”.

The National Security Archive was founded in 1985 by reporters and researchers who wanted to lift the veil on government secrecy. They’ve accomplished that through legal means — frequent creative and strident use of teh Freedom of Information Act.

Check it out for yourself: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/the_archive.html