from gizmodo.com: It's a good day to be a conspiracy theorist.
Ending a decades-long game of leak after leak without any official
word, the US government has finally admitted the existence of Area 51 in
a recently declassified CIA report detailing the history of the U-2.
and within its pages are numerous references to Area 51, which the US
used as a secret test facility for the Cold War-era plane. Describing
how they came to settle on that particular, now notorious piece of
Nevada land, the report states:
On 12 April 1955, Richard Bissell and Col. Osmund Ritland (the senior
Air Force officer on the project staff) flew over Nevada with Kelly
Johnson on a small Beechcraft plane piloted by Lockheed’s chief test
pilot, Tony LeVier. They spotted what appeared to be an airstrip by a
salt flat known as Groom Lake, near the northeast corner of the Atomic
Energy Commission’s (AEC) Nevada Proving Ground.
landing on the lake bed, the group concluded that they had found the
perfect place to host their covert tests—and the consequent cascade of
alien and UFO conspiracy theories that would soon follow. But the name
Area 51 (which came from its map designation) doesn't exactly inspire
that warm, fuzzy feeling, so after getting President Eisenhower's
approval, they went for something a little more feel-good. According to
The outlines of Area 51 are shown on current unclassified maps as a
small rectangular area adjoining the northeast corner of the much larger
Nevada Test Site. To make the new facility in the middle of nowhere
sound more attractive to his workers, Kelly Johnson called it the
Paradise Ranch, which was soon shortened to the Ranch.
because Area 51 hadn't been officially recognized until now doesn't mean
that people weren't fully aware that it was, in fact, a very real
thing. Still, what this government milestone does mean is that, now that
they've fully admitted to the base's existence, this opens up a whole
slew of potential soon-to-be-declassified documents that would otherwise
have remained closed off thanks to their close connection to Area 51.