For years, stories of little green men have been the mainstay of
government secrecy concerns, conspiracy theories, and huge sellers in
the entertainment industry. Now, after years in the dark, at least some
of the truth really is out there. It just doesn't appear to have very
much to do with little green men.
ABC News recently reported that with the declassification of the CIA A-12 OXCART project in
2007, project workers have come forward to discuss Area 51, a place
that, according to the military, isn't supposed to exist. What they
revealed sheds light on at least a portion of the hidden rooms that
have long been shadowed from the public eye.
Located 100 miles
from Las Vegas, on the shore of Groom Lake, Area 51 is supposedly home
to everything from alien autopsies to Roswell space ships. However,
from 1958 to 1968, it was home to the development and construction of
the A-12 OXCART supersonic jet. Developed as the successor to the U-2
spy plane, the OXCART is a marvel of aeronautical engineering.
over 40 years after it first flew, the A-12's maximum speed and
altitude have not been equaled by a piloted operational jet aircraft," wrote David Robarge, the CIA's chief historian in 2007.
project's end in 1968 was due to budget difficulties brought on by the
Vietnam War and competing agency conflicts, not it's technology. In
fact, it was that technology that was the basis for other "Black bird"
models developed for the Air Force.
According to government
sources, Area 51 is an alien free zone. Thornton "T.D." Barnes, 72, a
former special-projects engineer at Area 51 who worked on the A-12
OXCART project, told ABC that he didn't see anything that wanted to
phone home except the workers. Instead, he noted that a decommissioned
CIA supersonic surveillance jet was most likely the cause of the alien
conspiracy theories. He explained that because the plane flew 2,850
flights out of Area 51, traveling 2,200 mph at an elevation of 90,000
feet, people wouldn't see the plane, but they would see flashes of
light. And though those flashes of light weren't E.T., the team was
happy to work under cover of the rumor.
"We considered it to
be a bonus," Barnes said. "They [alien conspiracy theorists] made it
easier to conceal what we were doing."
Another interview in the Los Angeles Times,
in which Barnes was interviewed, explained that the OXCART's disk-like
fuselage reflected light, giving it the appearance of a giant silver
disk or alien saucer.
Harry A. Martin, 77, a fuel supervisor for
the OXCART project, told ABC that the idea that UFOs were stored at the
base was all in people's imaginations. "We laughed at it," he said.
the absence of any X-file revelations about Area 51, some UFO "experts"
have asserted that the conspiracy may still be real. Stanton T.
Friedman, a nuclear physicist and UFO researcher, said that the old
Area 51 employees who have come forward may not have known about the
secrets of the much ado about nothing property. He believes that the
high level of secrecy in Area 51 created intense compartmentalization
between projects on the base and suggested that some departments
weren't aware of others. In other words, a group could be building an
engine in one room while on the other side of the base a space ship was
Whether or not every room's secrets
have been explored on the base, the declassification of many of Area
51's programs has allowed for a valuable commodity to be shared. Barnes
told ABC that since the OXCART project has been declassified, he and
other teammates can freely provide information that for over 40 years
have remained secret.
"They're finding that a lot that we did
under secrecy, they're making the same mistakes again," Barnes said.
Now he and his past colleagues are finally able to work with
universities and government agencies to help them avoid costly mistakes
and provide solutions to challenges that were solved long ago but
hidden in the shadows of UFOs.
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