a reply to: game over man
Sorry. I didn't see this thread earlier.
Jeff Richelson is not the first to make Area 51 public. The government did that decades ago.
The very first mention in public was when the CIA had the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) issue a carefully crafted statement to the news media. An
AEC spokesman announced construction of the Groom Lake airfield to the press on May 18, 1955. The news release was distributed to 18 media outlets in
Nevada and Utah including a dozen newspapers, four radio stations, and two television stations. The words "Groom Lake" were not specifically included
(though they had been included in the original draft), but were later added to follow-up information provided to reporters. Under the heading,
"Watertown Project," Nevada Test Site information booklets provided to the media in the late 1950s noted that during 1955, "construction of a small
facility at Watertown, in the Groom Lake area at the northeast corner of the Test Site, was announced." This was before the designation "Area 51" had
After a C-54 transport plane crashed on Mt. Charleston in November 1955, Las Vegas Review Journal (LVRJ) reporter Dennis Schiek speculated that it
might have been heading to “Groom Lake, a top secret base…some 115 miles northwest” of Las Vegas. Another LVRJ article, two days later, stated
unequivocally that the C-54 was “bound for the super-secret ‘proving grounds within the proving grounds’ – Groom Dry Lake.”
An LVRJ article on September 17, 1959, announced that “sheet metal workers needed at the Groom Lake Project 51 in the Nevada Test Site are
constructing a butler-type building.” An AEC spokesman said that the building would be used to “house data reduction equipment for use by
Edgerton, Germeshausen, and Grier (EG&G) in an Air Force program.”
In September 1967, a front-page LVRJ headline announced, “Super-Secret Base Jet Crash Kills Pilot,” and the accompanying article revealed that the
crash site was within what was “known to Nevada Test Site workers as Area 51…the same area where the Air Force developed and tested the U-2 spy
plane and its successor, the SR-71.”
Ned Day wrote a 1979 editorial for the LVRJ asking, "What's going on at that secret test site base?" He used the terms "Area 51" and "Groom Lake," and
mentioned that "a couple of years ago, KLAS-TV reported the existence of Area 51."
These are just a few examples that I could find quickly. There are probably many others. I think it's funny that just six months after construction of
the base was announced - and in such an innocuous way - it had already become an object of mystery and folklore. Up until about 1978, Area 51
appeared on official Nevada Test Site maps, which were freely available to the general public from the AEC (later renamed the Department of Energy, or
Over the past 20 years or more, the DOE and the CIA have declassified thousands of pages of documents about and from Area 51. Many of the DOE
documents were never classified in the first place. Nevada Test Site newsletters, which were unclassified, often mentioned Area 51 (new Area 51
telephone numbers, Area 51 sports team scores, etc.). In September 2010, the CIA declassified the fact of the agency's association with Area 51,
which cleared the way for releasing documents in which the term Area 51 was no longer redacted. In many of the previously released documents, CIA
censors failed to redact all mentions of the term Area 51.
As to Jan Harzan's "major claim" about Ben Rich, that is highly questionable. Ben never actually said that "we have the technology to take E.T. home."
Harzan attended a lecture by Rich that took place at UCLA in 1993. During the presentation, Rich showed about two-dozen slides highlighting many of
the aircraft he had worked on, and dropped hints about projects not yet revealed to the public. Toward the end he discussed the F-117A and YF-22, as
well as continuing efforts in the development of advanced aircraft technologies that he could not discuss. Rich then showed his final slide, a picture
of a disk-shaped craft – the classic “flying saucer” – flying into a partly cloudy sky with a burst of sunlight in the background.
“Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what we have been doing for the last 10 years,” he said, “but, I can tell you about a contract we recently
received. The Skunk Works has been assigned the task of getting E.T. back home.” It was a standard joke that he included in nearly every one of his
presentations sine April 1983, after "E.T. the Extraterrestrial" became one of the most popular movies of all time. Harzan didn't get the joke. He
thought Rich was serious.
Having spent more than 30 years researching the history of Area 51 through many thousands of pages of documents, hundreds of photographic and motion
picture images, and scores of interviews with people who actually worked there (at every level from mechanics to base commanders), I can tell you with
some assurance that Area 51 never had anything to do with UFOs, extraterrestrials, or flying saucers. It has been, and continues to be, a premier
facility for testing and evaluation of advanced aircraft and weapon systems.