Area 51, UFO

Google Earth; iStock

The truth is out there. But who's telling it?

Late last week, the CIA acknowledged the existence of Area 51 via a previously unreleased 407-page document. The Nevada base has long been rumored to house government secrets about aliens. 

Here's what the Central Intelligence Agency says actually happened at Area 51: World War II training and, later, testing of U-2 spy planes, Lockheed 1-12 Oxcart planes, D-21 Tagboard planes and F-117 stealth fighter planes.

So many planes and not a single flying saucer in sight.

Reactions by UFO enthusiasts have varied.

The Sane-ish(?): Bob Lazar, who first brought Area 51 into the public consciousness in 1989 when he claimed to have been a government scientist that was brought to the base to assist in reasearch, was underwhelmed with the recent unveiling: "Everybody has known that for 25 years or so. Tell us something we don't know," he told NBC News. "That's a minuscule baby step forward. Maybe a decade from now they'll acknowledge there's an S4." (S4 was the division he claims to have been involved with, which specialized in reverse engineering spacecrafts.)

The Less Sane: Richard Boylan, who claims to have infiltrated Area 51 and seen firsthand what goes on behind the curtain, spurred more conspiracy theories, protesting: "They say Area 51 is real? Duh. That's not even one cent on the dollar of what the government knows and should be admitting to."

The Full-On Nutters: "I'm thinking that they're probably testing the waters now to see how mad people get about the big lie and cover-up...It is not something you can look at us and lie about, because we know that they're here and have been here for a long time," said Audrey Hewins of Maine, who runs a support group for people who have been contacted by aliens.

The 20-year-old CIA document was made public after George Washington University's National Security Archive filed a Freedom of Information request. The request was filed in 2005 and the approved this past June.

"The notion that the U-2 explains most sightings at that time is utter rot and baloney," a self-described "Ufologist" named Stanton Friedman argues. "Can the U-2 sit still in the sky? Make right-angle turns in the middle of the sky? Take off from nothing?"

Elsewhere in the world, Indian Army troops have reported seeing UFOs above the Indian and Chinese border earlier this month. There have been 100-plus sightings at the Ladakh sector in recent months, though the Defense Minister has said there is "no conclusive proof of sighting of unidentified flying objects." Additional reports reason that the sightings may actually just be Jupiter and Venus. 

Convenient excuse. Exactly what the government would want you to think...

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