Found this on the DOD website doing UFO research, dated 18 April 2000:
DoD News Briefing, Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon
Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 2:00 p.m. EDT
MR. BACON: Welcome. Good afternoon. Let me start with one announcement and two welcomes.
The announcement is that tomorrow, Wednesday, at 11:00 a.m., Secretary Cohen will host a full honors ceremony in recognition of Rudy de Leon, the new
deputy secretary of Defense. This will be his formal welcome to the Pentagon as deputy secretary. He was sworn in a couple of weeks ago, obviously,
and has been on the job.
The highlight of the ceremony, aside from the general ruffles and flourishes that go along with such an impressive ceremony, will be participation of
80 Junior ROTC cadets from Columbia, South Carolina. As you know, the ROTC -- the Junior ROTC program is a nationwide program that includes 410,000
participants now. And many of them go on to join the military, but whether they do or they don't, it's a program that gives discipline and direction
and excitement to high school students. And Mr. de Leon saw some of these Junior ROTC people perform and asked that they come to his ceremony.
Second, I'd like to welcome a group of students from Indiana University, Hoosiers, who are breaking away for some time in Washington. We welcome you
here. They are assigned to various Washington, D.C., agencies. How many of you are here from the University of Indiana? Great. Welcome.
And finally, we also have a group of Russian visitors here. Where are you? Welcome to the Pentagon briefing. These are 10 Russian journalists and
press secretaries -- see, they send on a one- to-one ratio a journalist with a press secretary to visit in the United States, to -- as part of our
international visitors program. So we're glad to have you here.
With that, I'll take your questions. Yes, Tammy?
Q: On Area 51, a company yesterday released some Russian satellite imagery of an area that apparently is a classified U.S. test facility known
colloquially as Area 51. The question is what sort of security concerns does the department have about the commercial availability of imagery like
MR. BACON: Well, since Sputnik, we have operated in a world of overhead surveillance, and we have had more than 40 years to learn how to deal with
And we, as most countries in the world, understand that satellites fly around and that they take pictures and we know very precisely when they fly,
what their courses are, and we know that about all types of satellites. So I think we've learned to live in a world with satellite surveillance and
we will continue to take whatever measures we need to take to protect our dearest activities and secrets.
Q: Can you say whether any aspect of national security was compromised by the publishing of the photographs on the Internet?
MR. BACON: The part that struck me the most about the news coverage of those photographs was the conclusive statement that no aliens were observed
near Groom Lake, and I was gratified by that because we've long said that this is not a center for UFO or alien activity. So I was very glad that
commercial satellite photos were interpreted by some leading news analyst to make the same conclusion.
Q: But nevertheless, did these compromise any national security? Did it present any national security concerns at all, or is it simply a matter of no
information was revealed that was in any way compromised?
MR. BACON: I'm not aware that any information was revealed that compromised our activities.
Q: Okay, and just to be clear, since this is a matter of some speculation for years about what exactly goes on in Area 51, what can you say goes on at
this test facility?
MR. BACON: Darn little. All I can tell you is that we have a right, as a sovereign nation -- in fact, a responsibility to the citizens of the United
States -- to develop various weapons from time to time. Sometimes these weapons are developed in classified locations, and we have several locations
where we do this, as do a number of other countries in the world.
Q: And although you've talked about this sort of obliquely and somewhat satirically, can you just say for the record whether or not, can you confirm
or deny whether there are any alien spacecraft, alien -- anything extraterrestrial stored or at any time stored at this facility?
MR. BACON: I think I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have no classified program that relies on aliens from outer space. (Laughter.)
Q: Another non-denial. (Laughter.) (Off mike.)
(of course, denial denial denial)
MR. BACON: Chris?
Q: A sort of serious side of this Area 51 thing is there's been some litigation on worker conditions and, I think, toxic contamination and things
like that, which I think the president acted a couple of months ago to exempt this entire area from that sort of thing.
Is that right?
MR. BACON: The president did issue an order on February 1st applying to a location near Groom Lake, Nevada. And he did in fact exempt it from various
disclosures to unauthorized persons, and some of those disclosures involve environmental operations -- waste disposal, et cetera -- at the site. And
that's a publicly available document.
Q: But does that -- what is the effect on this litigation? Does that just end -- just throws out these workers' plights?
MR. BACON: Well, I haven't looked into the litigation issue for some time, so I should probably withhold comment on it. My -- the last time I looked
at this was several years ago, and I don't know what's changed since then.
Q: I think there was a recent -- I think it had moved forward recently, but I didn't know how this presidential order affected that.
MR. BACON: Well, it is probably better for environmental lawyers to comment on that. But the litigation, as I understand it, has to do with health
effects -- alleged health effects by people who have worked there over a long period of time. And the -- I haven't kept up with the litigation, but
the last I knew, there had been no conclusive finding of a link between health effects and working near Groom Lake. But that was several years ago,
and it could have changed.