Area 51: Actually Acknowledged By CIA!

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Long shrouded in mystery and the subject of endless fascination for conspiracy theorists, Area 51 has been officially acknowledged by the CIA.

Newly-released documents say the site is real, but suggest the area served a far less remarkable purpose than many had supposed ... or hoped.

Area 51 Signs

Area 51, about 125 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is synonymous in popular culture with government secrecy. Many believe it holds the answer to the age-old question:

Are we really alone in the universe?

Spoiler alert: That is still unclear.

The documents, which include a map of the location, show Area 51 was a testing site for the government's U-2 and OXCART aerial surveillance programs.

The long-secret U-2 program conducted surveillance around the world, including over the Soviet Union during the Cold War over a period of decades.

No mention of alien autopsy rooms or spaceship parking lots are mentioned in the declassified reports, likely to the dismay of those seeking alien intel.

For these true believers, the existence of alien spacecraft in or around Area 51, and the government's attempts to cover up their trace, is irrefutable.

This has been the case ever since reports of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) began to emerge from the Nevada desert in the mid-20th Century.

Area 51 Picture

The documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Jeffrey T. Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archives.

He requested the information in 2005, as part of his study of aerial surveillance programs ... although the location of Area 51 was not a well-kept secret.

In fact, the map that was released in the CIA documents more or les mirrors the one that appears after a simple Google Maps search for "Area 51."

It is more or less known that it exists in a section of rural Nevada with few access points and heavy security ... very, very far from anything and anyone.

Still, Richelson told CNN he believes this could signal a dramatic change in the government's willingness to declassify information about the famed base.

As for the true believers, they still have Roswell?