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Official Declassification Of Area 51 / More U-2

Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:17 pm

In the first official U.S. comment about Area 51, the CIA has finally acknowledged the base in a newly declassified version of its history of the U-2.

The entire document is available as a pdf at the National Security Archives website:


This history was originally declassified in 1998 but with many redactions (deletions). This new version removes most, but not all, of these edits. Some of the new material is not surprising or has been covered in open sources elsewhere, such as the role of RAF (2 overflights of the USSR in 1959).

Noted author and U-2 expert Chris Pocock provides an exceptionally valuable page-by-page summary of the new material.
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RE: Official Declassification Of Area 51 / More U-2

Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:43 am

I find it interesting that the map of Power's flight on page 173 does not match his account in his book "Operation Overflight". In his book, he said that 40 miles SE of Sverdlovsk, he made a 90-deg left turn to line up with the SW fringe of the city. The map in the CIA history has him turning right, then left and going around the north side of the city. Also, the map doesn't show him overflying Plesetsk, which is odd, as one of his goals was to photograph ICBM launch sites. Four of the six then operational in the USSR were at Plesetsk. The other two at Baikonur, which he had just overflown. Lastly, the map shows that he was intending to violate Finnish and Swedish airspace to get to Bodø. This is much more plausible than his claim in the book that he was going to go around the North Cape, to stay in Norwegian air space.

BTW, my research leads me to believe that he landed by parachute in the field at 56°43′35.73″N 60°59′9.61″E One of the last things he overflew (by Russian admission) is the Chelyabinsk-65 plutonium production facility, now known as Mayak.

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RE: Official Declassification Of Area 51 / More U-2

Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:37 am

I don't read that as a declassification of the Groom Lake facility (area 51 is simply a grid reference on the Nellis Range map) but rather further declassification of the U-2 program. I'm not surprised its mentioned as many aircraft are tested out at Groom when we don't want prying eyes.
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RE: Official Declassification Of Area 51 / More U-2

Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:58 pm

Groom Lake has an interesting history. Not only U-2, but A-12/SR-71, Marquardt D-21 drone, F-117/B-2. No aliens, though.
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