posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 10:56 AM
The biggest secret about Area 51 is that it was never secret. The CIA drafted an announcement that was presented to news media by the Atomic Energy
Commission in 1955, detailing construction of the airfield at Groom Lake. The existence of the base has been repeatedly acknowledged by official
sources (through maps, newsletters, and press releases) over the years. Test Site insiders, government officials, military personnel, and the general
public have, however, unknowingly conspired to perpetuate the myth that the existence of the base is a closely guarded secret and this has turned Area
51 into a psycho-social phenomenon.
In 1957, the AEC released information that the Groom Lake facility, then known as Watertown, was being used for flight operations involving the
Lockheed U-2. Civilian "weather research" served as a cover story for CIA spy pilot training. In November 1959, an AEC spokesman announced: “Sheet
metal workers needed at the Groom Lake Project 51 in the Nevada Test Site are constructing a butler-type building” that would be used to “house
data reduction equipment for use by Edgerton, Germeshausen, and Grier in an Air Force program.” This was related to radar cross-section testing of
the Lockheed A-12, an operational detail that remained classified for several decades.
When the Air Force annexed the Groom Mountains in 1984, closing off 89,000 acres of public land, it fueled speculation about the Groom Lake facility.
In an October 1987 article for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Christopher Beall described Area 51 as “a place with a history of dark rumors and
speculation, and a name that has even now become an object of folklore.” This is exactly why Area 51 has so captured the public’s attention.
People love mysteries. The less that is known about Area 51, the more it can be used as a blank slate for the public imagination. “It’s a perfect
blackboard on which to write your dreams and your fears,” said Popular Science editor Stuart Brown in a 1997 interview.
The news media has exploited has promoted the idea that Area 51 is an officially “non existent” facility. Print and television reporters have
shied away from historic facts in favor of reporting sensationalistic rumors. Just look at the recent example of “UFO Hunters” on The History
Glenn Campbell suggested that more openness on the part of the Air Force would be helpful. “I think that a lot of the tension surrounding Area 51
would be reduced if the government simply gave the base a name, said they were doing secret projects there and left it at that. It’s the idea of a
nameless, nonexistent base that really grabs the public’s attention.”
A message left on an Internet bulletin board asked: “What would happen if the U.S. government opened its doors to us and let us see all that was
going on [at Area 51]? Depending on what is there, we’d either be vindicated or disappointed, but we would also rapidly lose interest. What would
we focus our attentions on? Where would we go next? The greatest thing about Area 51 is its mystery; otherwise, nobody would care.”
I think this really speaks to the heart of the matter. People just love the mystery of Area 51. Let’s face it, there are classified projects going
on all the time at other bases (Edwards, China Lake, Point Mugu, etc.) but you don’t see tourists camped out on the perimeter because there is
nothing inherently mysterious about these places.