The last time I visited Area 51, it didn’t exist.
But as of this week it does. Officially.
For reasons unknown, the government finally has admitted that Area 51 — the Shangri-La of alien hunters and a sturdy trope of science-fiction movies — is a real place in the Mojave Desert about 100 miles north of Las Vegas.
It presumably does not house hideous squidlike ETs, but at least you can see the place on a map. Area 51 is confirmed in declassified CIA documents posted online Thursday by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. A dogged researcher pried from the CIA a report on the history of the U-2 spy plane, which was tested and operated at Area 51.
The military, which runs the base, always denied that Area 51 was called by its famous moniker, preferring a designation connected to the Groom Lake salt flat, a landing strip for the U-2 and other stealth aircraft.
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